Three mobile operators see 69pc rise in data revenue

Data revenue of three mobile operators -- Grameenphone, Banglalink and Robi -- increased about 69 percent year-on-year to Tk 1,699 crore in 2015.

Income from data business of the three operators, which have a combined market share of around 90 percent, got a boost with the launch of 3G services two years back.

Around 10 percent of their revenue came from data services in 2015, up from 5 percent in 2014 and 2 percent in 2013.

Data revenue information of three other operators -- Teletalk, Airtel and Citycell -- is not publicly available. Of these three, Teletalk and Airtel offer 3G services.

Grameenphone's data revenue is growing fast due to heavy investment in 3G technologies, a rise in the number of subscribers and increased smartphone penetration, said Nehal Ahmed, director for communications of the operator.

Average data consumption per user increased over time, fuelled by access to a wide range of digital lifestyle solutions, social media and other applications, he added.

In 2015, Grameenphone saw Tk 10,480 crore in revenue, and Tk 850 crore of the amount came from data revenue, according to its financial statement.

In 2014, the operator's data revenue stood at Tk 550 crore, which was 5 percent of its total earnings.

Data subscribers of the operator grew 45 percent year-on-year to 1.57 crore in 2015 while data volume almost trebled.

Robi, the second largest operator in terms of revenue, earned Tk 524 crore from data services last year, the amount being 10 percent of its total revenue.

In 2014, Robi's earnings from the data segment accounted for 6 percent of its total revenue, according to its financial statement.

Banglalink, the second largest operator in terms of subscribers, earned Tk 325 crore or 6.9 percent of its total revenue from data in 2015.

In 2014, the operator's data revenue was Tk 176 crore, which was 4.02 percent of its total revenue.

Market insiders, however, said a 22-day ban on the use of Facebook and some messaging apps in the last quarter of 2015 hurt the growth of data use.

An official of a mobile phone operator said every operator lost around Tk 10 crore on average at that time.

Meanwhile, the number of internet connections also rose significantly last year.

At the end of 2015, the number of mobile internet connections was more than 5.15 crore, up from 4.22 crore at the end of the previous year.

Bangladesh has about two crore Facebook users who belong to the top revenue generating segment, industry insiders said.

Despite a shortage of local contents, some new initiatives are being taken for entertainment and education, which are helping operators generate more revenue, they said.


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