The growth of active mobile users of the country has slowed down remarkably after the launch of 3G service in October last year, showed the data of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. The BTRC’s monthly mobile user data showed that in January-September 2013 the country’s six mobile operators — five GSM and one CDMA — added 1.33 crore new subscribers with a growth rate of 13.66 per cent.
After the launch of 3G service in October 2013, the operators added only 45 lakh new subscribers until May 2014 with a growth rate of 4.02 per cent.
In January-September 2013 period, Grameenphone, the country’s largest mobile phone company, added 57 lakh new subscribers, Banglalink 25 lakh, Robi 37 lakh, Airtel 8.85 lakh and state-run Teletalk added 6.9 lakh users. But Citycell, the only CDMA operator, lost 1.79 lakh subscribers.
In October ’13-May ’14 period, the GP added 24 lakh new subscribers, Banglalink 13 lakh, Airtel 2.62 lakh, Teletalk 11.85 lakh and Citycell 89,000 while Robi lost 80,000 subscribers during the period.
‘Subscriber growth rate slowdown is related to a number of issues including the political instability during the second half of last year which affected the business of the telcos,’ GP chief corporate affairs officer Mahmud Hossain told New Age on Saturday.
He said the telecom operators were now focusing on the remote rural market which would have slow penetration.
‘If you see the number of 45 lakh, then it’s not a depressing figure at all. As the customer base is increasing every day, the market penetration is supposed to be slow,’ Mahmud said.
He, however, said there was still huge potential for the mobile companies to expand.
A 3G performance report of GP submitted to BTRC in March 2014 showed that 80 per cent of the company’s 3G subscribers were old 2G subscribers during October-December period.
In the 3G spectrum auction in September last year, Grameenphone took 10MHz with $210 million, Banglalink, Robi and Airtel took 5MHz each with $105 million an operator.
The active number of mobile phone subscribers in the country increased by 1.66 crore or 17 per cent in 2013 and 13.70 per cent in 2012 as the total subscribers were 9.71 crore in December of the year.
-With New Age input