Bangladesh’s top phone operator’s revenue reaches $1.33 bn

Dhaka, Feb 8 (IANS) Bangladesh’s top cell phone operator Grameenphone (GP) on Monday reported a revenue of 104.8 billion taka (about $1.32 billion) for 2015 — up two percent from the previous year.

The company, which is listed on the Dhaka Stock Exchange, said subscription and traffic revenue (excluding inter-connection) grew by 2.4 percent along with 3.5 percent growth in device and other revenues, Xinhua reported.

Data revenue growth of 66 percent and VAS growth of 31 percent are the main contributors to this during the year, it said.

The cellphone operator said it acquired 5.2 million new subscriptions during the year, taking the subscription base to 56.7 million.

This 10 percent subscription growth took the SIM market share to a stable 42.4 percent, said the operator.

Data subscribers grew by 45 percent to 15.7 million and data volume almost grew by three times during the year.

With 56.679 million customers at the end of 2015, they said GP, 55.8 percent owned by Norwegian telecom company Telenor and 34.2 percent owned by local Grameen Telecom, is the largest telecom operator in Bangladesh and has a strong legacy of providing mobile services to all parts of the country.

“GP continued with the performance momentum after the challenging start of the year. Data went on to be the primary growth driver, while voice was under stress from competitive offers,” said Rajeev Sethi, chief executive officer of Grameenphone.

“Going forward we have set out an ambition of growth and value creation by taking the position as our customers’ favourite partner in digital life.”

GP said its net profit after taxes for the period was 19.7 billion taka compared to 19.8 billion taka of 2014.

“We managed to deliver profitable growth amidst the subdued top line performance for 2015. Our EBITDA (before other items) grew by 2.8 percent in comparison to two percent revenue growth.”

“Earnings were stable despite higher depreciation & amortization as well as charging off one-time appeal payment related to the SIM replacement tax dispute,” said Dilip Pal, chief financial officer of GP.

The company invested 19.3 billion taka during the year to further rollout of 3G sites, 2G coverage, capacity enhancement for catering higher volume of data and voice as well as enhancement of IT infrastructure for better product and service offerings.

Meanwhile, GP, the largest contributor to exchequer, paid 51.1 billion taka, comprising 48.8 percent of total revenue to the national exchequer during the year in the form of taxes, VAT, duties and license fees.

GP was set up in March 1997 by 2006 Nobel peace prize-winner Muhammad Yunus.

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