Mobile subscriber numbers grow for 3rd straight month
Mobile subscriber numbers witnessed a solid growth in March, thanks to a strong performance by all but state-owned operator Teletalk.
The three private mobile network operators -- Grameenphone, Robi and Banglalink -- collectively added about 13 lakh customers, taking the total to 18.38 crore. This is the third consecutive month mobile subscriber numbers in Bangladesh have grown.
From July to December last year, the customers subscriber base had declined by over 35 lakh. Subscriber here means a biometric verified subscriber or subscription which was active (voice, data, SMS etc) at least once in the preceding 90 days.
Of the over 18 crore SIMs now in circulation, 12 crore are of unique users, Telecom Minister Mustafa Jabbar told The Daily Star recently. A person can use as many as 15 SIMs.
Third-placed operator in terms of its share of customers, Banglalink continued to be the top performer in customer acquisition securing 5.5 lakh new customers followed by Robi Axiata with 4.4 lakh and Grameenphone 3.5 lakh.
Banglalink, which crossed a milestone of four crore subscribers in January, had 4.13 crore customers at the end of March.
On a year-on-year basis, the number of customers of the operator grew by 8.68 per cent, the highest among the operators, in March.
Earlier, its officials attributed this uptick to the operator's ongoing investment in network expansion, enabling customers to experience fastest 4G, alongside utilisation of innovative and quality digital services.
With the new 4.4 lakh customers, second largest operator Robi's subscriber numbers stood at 5.55 lakh in March.
The rate of switching to Robi as primary operator has increased recent times due to our optimised network capacity and enhanced quality of services, Shahed Alam, chief corporate and regulatory officer at Robi Axiata Ltd.
"We are also seeing the subscribers' optimism in using our network to consuming digital service such as OTT content, gaming and online news. Previously user was solely concentrated on social media and YouTube," he added.
With 3.5 lakh new customers in March, top operator Grameenphone took its total number of customers to almost 8.03 crore.
This was the third consecutive month of growth witnessed by Grameenphone after months of downturn since July last year due to a ban on its SIM sales.
On June 29 last year, the telecom regulator banned Grameenphone's SIM sales until it "improves its quality of service, including bringing down the call drop rate". The ban was eventually lifted on January 2 this year.
During the six-month ban period, it lost almost 5 million customers, taking a toll in the country's total mobile subscriber base and undermining the government's digital connectivity ambition.
State-owned Teletalk lost about 40,000 customers in March, taking its customer numbers to 66.3 lakh.