Grameenphone, the largest mobile operator in Bangladesh, reported improved top-line growth and profitability in Q4 2017, driven by strong subscriber gains and a corresponding jump in data revenue.
Net profit in the quarter increased 11.1 per cent year-on-year to BDT5.97 billion ($71.6 million). A 29 per cent year-on-year jump in data revenue in Q4 helped drive an 8 per cent increase in overall turnover to BDT32.2 billion. Service revenue grew 11.3 per cent to BDT31.3 billion, with voice revenue up 9.2 per cent. Data revenue contributed to 54 per cent of service revenue in the quarter. For the full year revenue was up 12 per cent to BDT128 billion.
Michael Foley, CEO of Grameenphone, said: “In 2017 we delivered a strong business performance amidst a very competitive environment. Our SIM market share was stable at 45.4 per cent and voice revenue growth improved further.”
The operator picked up 7.4 million new subscribers in 2017, ending the year with 65.3 million. Its mobile internet user base increased by 6.6 million, or 27 per cent, and accounted for nearly half of total subscribers at end-December. ARPU dipped marginally year-on-year to BDT161 at end-December.
Grameenphone CFO Karl Erik Broten said: “We experienced competitive pressure on pricing, specially in the data segment. Our operational efficiency initiatives helped us to improve our profitability further.”
The operator spent BDT14.5 billion on capex in 2017 and deployed about 1,800 3G sites and 1,000 2G sites, taking the total to 12,994 and 12,332 respectively. It increased 3G coverage to 93 per cent of the country’s population.