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Dhaka Tribune

2020 was nothing to write home about for Banglalink

Banglalink's revenue grew 0.7 per cent in 2020

Update : 19 Feb 2021, 12:34 AM

Banglalink, once the country’s most-spirited mobile operator, failed to claw back the ground it lost over the years in 2020.

The country’s third largest mobile operator logged in a revenue of Tk 4,560 crore for 2020, up 0.7 per cent year-on-year, in a year when the mobile operators came of age.

While the technology played its part in keeping Bangladesh moving amid the pandemic, the mobile companies had a vital role to play in facilitating the transition of everyday activities being doneremotely.

Starting from work to commerce, everything was done over the phone amid the two-and-a-half-month-long countrywide shutdown announced on March 26 to slow the spread of coronavirus.

For those who had no fixed internet connection, mobile internet was a Godsend for them.

Banglalink’s parent company, the Amsterdam-based VEON, does not disclose the profit figures in its financial report; only the revenue earned is shared.

In 2020, Grameenphone, the country’s largest mobile operator, saw its revenue decline 2.8 per cent, while Robi, the industry’s number two player, saw its revenue grow 1.1 per cent.

Banglalink’s slight revenue growth was more than what Veon’s subsidiaries in Russia, Algeria, Uzbekistan managed, which all saw de-growth. Veon’s subsidiary in Pakistan Jazz managed a 0.8 per cent growth.

“We maintained a satisfactory performance in 2020,” said Erik Aas, chief executive officer of Banglalink, in a press release.

During the year, the operator added on 33,000 new subscribers to take its tally to 3.5 crore, according to data from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Authority.

Despite the surging data demand throughout the year, the carrier could serve its customers because of proper utilisation of our spectrum, introduction of innovative digital services and other technological advancements, he said.

Banglalink has been awarded Ookla’s Fastest Mobile Network in Bangladesh based on Ookla® Speedtest® Awards for the second half of 2020. Previously, Banglalink won the same award for the first half of 2020.  

"That being said, we still believe that we can perform even better if the much-needed level playing field in the industry is ensured through the implementation of more stringent significant market power regulations," Aas added. 

Between October and December last year, its revenue grew 2.4 per cent to Tk 1,140 crore, but the amount brought in by mobile data use was up 22.8 per cent.

Data usage during the period shot up 55.3 per cent to 2.4 GB per user.

The average revenue per user (ARPU) of the operator increased 3.5 per cent to Tk 112 in 2020.

Banglalink continued to promote the use of digital channels to facilitate top-ups, account management and the adoption of additional services, the VEON report also said.

As a result, the user base of Banglalink’s self-care app increased20 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2020, while their video streaming app, Toffee, gained 2.3 million monthly active users since its launch a year ago, it added.

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