Robi, Banglalink see customer growth in June
Mobile network providers Robi Axiata and Banglalink gained clients in June while Grameenphone, the industry's top operator, saw a slight drop in its customer base.
Robi and Banglalink added over 3 lakh and 1 lakh customers respectively in June compared to a month earlier while Grameenphone lost 1 lakh clients at the same time.
Meanwhile, Teletalk's figures remained almost unchanged that month, according to the latest data of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
The country's total mobile subscriber base grew 4.55 per cent year-on-year to 18.44 crore in June, while the total number of internet users stood at 12.62 crore
Robi, the country's second largest operator, said economic activities picked up after Eid and the recent floods, propelling its subscriber growth.
The third largest network provider Banglalink attributed the gain to the expansion of its network.
"Our growth had slowed in the last few months due to Ramadan and the flood situation. However, we have now overcome it and are coming back strong," said Mohammed Shahedul Alam, chief corporate and regulatory officer at Robi.
"The market is extremely competitive but we hope for more customer growth in coming months," he added.
On a year-on-year basis, the number of customers of Robi, which operates under brand names Robi and Airtel, increased by 4.4 per cent to 4.45 crore in June.
Robi recorded Tk 2,018.8 crore in revenue for the first quarter of this year, up 2 per cent year-on-year.
At the same time, the company's net profit grew 16 per cent to Tk 34.29 crore in the January-March period.
Axiata Group Berhad of Malaysia holds a controlling stake of 61.82 per cent in Robi Axiata while Bharti Airtel of India holds 28.18 per cent and the general public holds the remaining 10 per cent.
The company made its trading debut in the domestic stock market in December 2020 with the largest initial public offering the country has ever seen.
The subscribers of Banglalink, a subsidiary of Amsterdam-based connectivity provider Veon, rose by about 5 per cent year-on-year in June.
"We rolled out hundreds of new base transceiver stations in recent months. Now, customers are getting better service so we have been witnessing steady growth," said Taimur Rahman, chief corporate and regulatory affairs officer at Banglalink.
The operator added about 3,300 cell sites to its tower network in the last one year to take the total number to around 13,000.
Banglalink posted an 8.6 per cent year-on-year rise in revenue in the first quarter of 2022 on the back of strong data sales.
The revenue was Tk 1,242 crore in the first quarter of the year while it was Tk 1,144 crore in the same period in 2021.
However, the operator did not reveal its profit since it is not listed with the local stock market.
In an interview conducted in March this year, Kaan Terzioğlu, group chief executive officer of Veon, said they are a long-term investor having poured about $4 billion into Banglalink in the last 17 years of its operations.
He said Veon will continue investing every year with about $200 million to $300 million annually for the next three years.
Terzioğlu said Banglalink has aspirations to get listed in the stock market in three years.
Although Grameenphone's customers witnessed a slight drop in June compared to May, its subscribers increased by 3.38 per cent year-on-year in June.
In a recent development, the telecom watchdog banned Grameenphone from selling new SIM cards for what it said was the operator's failure to provide quality service.
However, these data are not influenced by the SIM sales ban since it took effect from June 30.
Although the BTRC banned Grameenphone from selling SIMs on the ground of call drops and low service quality, it earlier passed the regulator's test in this regard.
According to the results of a nationwide drive-test published in March, Grameenphone's average call drop rate in December was at 0.29 per cent in Dhaka division, with exception to city corporation areas.
According to the BTRC's policy, the call drop rate should be less than 2 per cent.
Grameenphone's saw its profits rise 8 per cent to Tk 920 crore in the April-June period of 2022 riding on higher revenue earnings.
Khairul Basher, head of communications at Grameenphone, said they have been working relentlessly to meet their customers' expectations.
"Through product and service simplification and innovation, the launch of affordable 4G devices with our device partners, integration of personalized services on MyGP, nationwide 4G upgradation at more than 18,400 towers, and deployment of additional spectrum from the 2021 auction enabled us to remain the preferred operator for our existing customers and generated pull from new ones," he added.
State-run Teletalk's subscriber base rose by 13.5 per cent year-on-year to 67 lakh in June.
As such, the country's total mobile subscriber base grew by 4.55 per cent year-on-year to 18.44 crore that month.
The total number of internet users stood at 12.62 crore as of June. Of these users, there are 11.50 crore mobile internet subscribers and 1.11 crore broadband internet users.