Country’s second-largest mobile phone operator Robi Axiata Limited has incurred losses for the third consecutive quarter during January-March, 2018 with the figure increasing to Tk 161.1 crore.
Robi in a statement said on Tuesday that Robi’s profitability was negative in Q1 this year due mainly to additional costs for 4G launch.
The operator made capital expenditure of Tk 990 crore for 4G licence, tech-neutrality conversion fee and capacity enhancement.
Besides, increased borrowing rate in the market was among other reasons for Robi’s loss during the quarter, it said.
The operator also mentioned prevailing high taxation regime and landscape of market competition saw Robi incurring loss for three consecutive quarters.
Robi, which was merged with Airtel by the end of the year 2016 with a view to strengthening its foothold in Bangladesh, has incurred Tk 941.1 crore in losses in five quarters out of last six quarters.
Of the six quarters, starting from September, 2016, Robi made only Tk 68.5 crore in profit during the April-June quarter of the year 2017.
Afterwards, it incurred Tk 46.9 crore in losses during the July-September quarter and Tk 134.8 crore in losses during the October-December quarter.
Although the number of data and voice call subscribers of the entity increased during the Q1 this year compared with the October-December quarter of 2017, the total revenue of the operator declined by 12.5 per cent, or Tk 231.7 crore, to Tk 1,627.8 crore from Tk 1,859.5 crore.
Since the launch of 4G service, the mobile phone operator has expanded its network to 425 thanas with more than 4,000 sites, the Robi statement said.
‘As of now, 457 thanas are covered by more than 5,200 4G sites (Robi use 4.5G),’ it said.
Robi managing director and chief executive officer Mahtab Uddin Ahmed said, ‘Robi has become the first mobile phone operator in the country to reach 1 million subscribers milestone [for 4G subscribers] by the
end of the first quarter of this year.’
‘As of now, we are very near to achieving the 2 million 4.5G subscriber milestone,’ he said.
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