Banglalink has started to get back its business after its hefty investment in strengthening network, with the operator logging in 4.5 percent higher revenue in the first three months of the year, its parent company Veon said yesterday.
The operator registered Tk 1,121.30 crore as revenue in the first quarter of 2019, thanks to an acceleration of data revenue growth resulting from network improvements following spectrum acquisition in February last year and continued expansion of its distribution footprint.
Its data revenue during the quarter stood at Tk 224.44 crore, up 36 percent from a year earlier and 25.2 percent from the previous quarter.
However, Veon has not mentioned anything about Banglalink’s profitability status.
Once a spirited operator, Banglalink retreated in the last few years. But in recent months, it has sprung back to action even though the regulatory environment is not favourable, it said.
“Banglalink has started the year on a high note, registering strong performance in the first quarter through remarkable improvements and increased customer confidence,” said Erik Aas, chief executive officer of the third largest operator.
With this incremental revenue back, Banglalink’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) also started getting back to a good shape: it reached 44.79 percent, in contrast to less than 35 percent last year.
At the end of the quarter, its active customer base stood at 3.30 crore, of which 2.04 crore are using internet and their average monthly data consumption reached 1,200MB with a growth rate of 99.8 percent.
Customers’ monthly voice call volume though has declined to 232 minutes a month from 272 minutes.
Currently, Banglalink has approximately 72 percent population coverage with 3G network and about 18 percent with 4G. The government’s move to introduce significant market power (SMP) guidelines was welcomed by Banglalink, Aas said.
He, however, called for proper implementation of SMP rules and other regulatory revisions to ensure competition and a level-playing field that will help them to serve their customers in a more significant way.
Recently, the telecom regulator has declared Grameenphone as SMP operator as it has more than 40 percent market share in terms of revenue and customer segment. Grameenphone will face some restrictions on its business as a result.