Mobile phone subscribers on the rise
The number of mobile phone subscribers rose 2.4 per cent year-on-year to 16.81 crore in October, data from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission showed yesterday.
It came at a time when the country's telecom operators are trying to stave off the Covid-19 fallout. As a result of their efforts, the number of users has grown steadily since July.
During the March-June period, the industry lost around 30 lakh customers as the country went into a full lockdown to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.
But with October's uptick, 9 lakh new users were added in one month, boosting the number well past its pre-pandemic high of 16.61 crore registered in February.
Similarly, the number of internet users rose 10.25 per cent year-on-year to 11.07 crore in October. It was 9.95 crore in the same month last year.
However, the number of internet users dropped slightly compared to September, when it touched an all-time high of 11.11 crore.
Currently, 10.21 crore subscribers use the internet through handheld devices, while the rest rely on services provided by internet service providers and public-switched telephone network operators.
The total number of internet users stood at 9.99 crore in February. But following the outbreak, this number has steadily soared as people are increasingly using internet to work and communicate and get entertained as they spend most of their time indoors to avoid catching the virus.
Market leader Grameenphone's total number of mobile phone customers jumped 2.70 per cent to 7.81 crore in October from 7.60 crore last year.
Robi Axiata, which crossed the 5-crore subscriber landmark in September, grew 4.27 per cent in October to reach 5.04 crore. During the same month last year, Robi had 4.83 crore in total.
Robi attributed this rise in its customer base to its 4G network.
"To prepare for the digital era, Robi has always focused on bolstering its 4G network. Our razor-sharp focus on this has helped create the largest 4G network in the country," Shahed Alam, chief corporate and regulatory officer of Robi Axiata, told The Daily Star yesterday.
"Coupled with network infrastructure development, we have been pursuing innovation in every aspect of our business," he said.
Perhaps the most telling sign of Robi's growing appeal can be found in the fact that 70 per cent of all mobile number portability users switched to the network.
"So, the background to the surge in our subscriber base is very compelling," Alam added.
Third-placed Banglalink had 3.49 crore subscribers in October, down from 3.5 crore a year ago.
The number of users of state-run Teletalk was 46.18 lakh in October compared to 47.06 lakh in the same month in 2019.