Bangladesh-based Grameenphone returned to growth in the second quarter, with profit and revenue rising year-on-year despite widespread Covid-19 (coronavirus) restrictions across the country.

In a statement, CEO Yasir Azman explained Grameenphone had worked with its partners, stakeholders, law enforcement and local communities to navigate challenges.

Azman noted “the volatilities related to the pandemic have worsened as the latest wave of Covid-19 has been the deadliest yet for Bangladesh, triggering the authorities to enforce a stricter lockdown”.

CFO Jens Becker said “improving momentum from the beginning of 2021 translated into growth in the second quarter as our subscription and traffic revenues grew by 8.5 per cent” over Q2 2020, with data users growing 7 per cent and consumption 38.6 per cent per customer.

Net profit rose 24.7 per cent to BDT8.5 billion ($100.3 million) and revenue 8.1 per cent to BDT35.8 billion.

Mobile subscribers rose 10.1 per cent to 82 million and total ARPU slipped 1.1 per cent to BDT144.

Grameenphone stated it focused on deploying spectrum acquired in the 1800MHz and 2100MHz and bands in March, and deploying additional sites: its 4G user base increased by more than 50 per cent  and it added 500 LTE sites for a total of more than 16,000 by end-June.

Capex doubled to BDT5.2 billion.