Banglalink for imposition of more SMP conditions on GP

Announces April-June report

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:12, Aug 10,2020


Banglalink chief executive officer Erik Aas speaks at a virtual briefing on Monday. — New Age photo

Banglalink chief executive officer Erik Aas on Monday said that he expected that the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission would put more conditions on mobile phone operator Grameenphone gradually under its significant market power regulations.

He expressed the expectation at an online press briefing on the telecom operator’s second quarterly financial performance in the year 2020.

In the April-June period of this year, Banglalink’s data revenue increased to Tk 293.65 crore because of 79.2 per cent and 3.3 per cent year-on-year growth in data usage and data customers respectively. In Q2 last year, the operator’s data revenue was Tk 225.37 crore, 30.29 per cent or Tk 68.28 crore lower than the revenue in the April-June period this year.

The operating revenue of Banglalink, however, dropped by 3.95 per cent or Tk 45.53 crore to Tk 1,108.15 crore in the quarter from Tk 1,153.67 crore in the April-June quarter last year. In the first quarter this year, the operator earned Tk 1,162.91 crore in total operating revenue.

Aas expected more SMP conditions in less than two months of imposing three SMP conditions by the BTRC on GP following demands from Robi and Banglalink.

GP was announced SMP operator due to its market share of more than 40 per cent.

The operator has been demanding for withdrawal of the conditions, claiming that there was no substantial evidence that any of the moves of the operator had so far hindered market competition.

On Monday’s press briefing, Aas thanked the BTRC for imposing the SMP conditions on GP and said that the imposition of SMP conditions on GP would surely play a vital role in ensuring level playing field in the telecom industry.

‘Over time, we expect even more SMP regulations to be implemented to balance the industry,’ he said.

Speaking about the Q2 performance of the telecom operator, Aas said that the operator had taken a number of measures to ramp up its efforts to provide customers with additional facilities amid recent challenges posed by the pandemic, cyclone and flood.

So, the telecom operator managed to yield positive results especially in digital business segment, he said.

He mentioned that the operator’s continued investments in 4G network contributed to 30 per cent year-on-year data revenue growth in the April-June period.

‘Banglalink’s digital endeavours have received the recognition from the recent Ookla award for being the fastest mobile network in the country for January-June period this year, which is the result of our technological advancement such as the expansion of 4G network and more spectrum per customer,’ Aas mentioned.

In reply to a question whether the telecom operator has any plan to support the students with low-cost internet support to participate in online classes, Aas said that the operators was in talks with the government on how it would be possible to give internet at affordable cost to the students.

However, it would not be possible to give all related to education sector internet at low-cost and the size of the beneficiaries must be realistic, he said.

Banglalink chief corporate and regulatory affairs officer Taimur Rahman, chief financial officer Cem Velipasaoglu and director Mohammad Zubayed Ul Islam participated in the briefing.

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