Grameenphone, the largest operator in Bangladesh, reported reduced growth momentum in the first quarter of 2020 as regulatory issues slowed subscriber acquisition and its 4G rollout.
Revenue rose 3.7 per cent to BDT36.2 billion ($427 million), down from 11.6 per cent growth a year earlier (BDT34.9 billion), although net profit for the recent quarter surged 25.8 per cent from a year earlier to BDT10.7 billion, which the company said benefitted from foreign exchange gains.
In a statement, Yasir Azman, CEO of Grameenphone, said it continued to face challenges in the January to March period, with restrictions by the regulator impacting planned investments and curbing subscriber growth.
Despite the obstacles, Azman said a 4G conversion drive led to a doubling of 4G users year-on-year to 14.2 million. LTE subs accounted for nearly 19 per cent of its total user base of 75.3 million, which increased only 1.6 per cent year-on-year due to the regulator delaying the release of new numbers.
The country wasn’t declared at high risk for Covid-19 (coronavirus) until 16 April, so the impact of the outbreak won’t be revealed until it releases Q2 results.
Data revenue jumped 24.6 per cent year-on-year to BDT8.5 billion, while the number of data subscribers increased 5.7 per cent to 40.4 million. ARPU was stable at BDT156.
In the quarter, the operator invested just BDT400 million in capex, down from BDT4.2 billion in Q1 2019. It added 197 LTE base stations to take the number of sites to 10,219, giving it 75.4 per cent population coverage.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back