Mobile phone operator Robi’s profit after tax increased by Tk 39.61 crore to Tk 58.4 crore in the coronavirusaffected April-June quarter against Tk 18.77 crore in the previous quarter.
With the profit in Q2, the country’s second largest mobile phone operator’s profit in the first half of the year 2020 stands at Tk 77.15 crore against Tk 56.8 crore in losses during the same period last year.
Although the operator’s profit after tax increased in Q2, its revenue dropped by 9 per cent or Tk 184.9 crore to Tk 1,762.7 crore during the period from Tk 1,947.7 crore in the previous quarter.
Cost optimisation drive coupled with pandemic time less customer acquisition and revenue driven cost helped Robi register the profit after tax, said a press release issued by the operator on the Q2 financial statement.
‘It must be noted that it is heavily impacted by the discriminatory 2-per cent minimum turnover tax,’ it said, adding that the smaller players in the telecom industry were effectively made to pay the minimum turnover tax at double the rate compared to any other industry.
Commenting on the financial performance, Robi managing director and chief executive officer Mahtab Uddin Ahmed said: ‘The April-June quarter was unlike any other quarter we have lived through.’
‘As anticipated, the impact of the pandemic was quite telling on our business,’ he said.
But our razor-sharp focus on cost optimisation and less direct cost due to the pandemic helped us to end the quarter with a decent profit, Mahtab said.
The harsh impact of the pandemic on the business was further exacerbated due to the increase in supplementary duty by 5 per cent introduced in the recently declared national budget, he added.
‘In fact, the very premise of the budget, which assumes that the telco sector is awash with cash has been further debunked by the financial data disclosed by other operators,’ he said.
Besides, the lack of support from the government to help the industry cushion the blow from the pandemic made the situation all the more painful, Mahtab mentioned.
Active subscriber base declined by 3.5 per cent to reach 4.8 crore at the end of June this year from 4.97 crore at the end of March this year.
However, compared to the number of subscribers in the same quarter last year, the operator’s active subscriber base increased by 0.1 per cent.
Robi’s voice revenue declined by 14.2 per cent compared to the previous quarter and by 18.6 per cent compared to the same quarter last year.
Robi paid Tk 804.3 crore to the government exchequer in the second quarter of 2020 while the operator’s capital investment in the quarter was Tk 311 crore.
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