In spite of retaining upward growth, mobile phone operator Robi today expressed its deep concern over the unhealthy market competition being posed by a dominant operator.
The second largest operator ended the second quarter (Q2) of the year with profit after tax (PAT) of Taka 47 crore buoyed data usage and cost management.
"The presence of significant monopoly power is discouraging the competition from investing in innovative digital technologies that are crucial to the future of the country," said Robi Managing Director and CEO Mahtab Uddin Ahmed at a virtual press conference while releasing its Q2 business update.
He said distorted price mechanism and distribution system are undermining consumers' interest and weakening the telecom industry to the detriment of the Digital Bangladesh vision.
"No single entity should be allowed to dictate the price and output decisions," he added.
Supported by steadily rising revenue and efficient cost management, Robi's PAT for the first half of the year reached Taka 81 crore.
Compared to Q1'21, Robi's 4G subscriber base grew by 7.5% in Q2'21, but compared to the same quarter last year, its 4G subscriber base grew by 65%. Out of a total subscriber base of 5.18 crore, nearly 2 crore are 4G subscribers.
Besides, 72.4% of the company's subscribers are now data users, which is highest in the industry and per user data usage per month is also rising rapidly- it now stands at 3.9gb.
Although the subscriber base grew by 8.1% compared to the same quarter last year, compared to the last quarter, Robi's subscriber base declined marginally by 0.2% in Q2'21. Robi's subscriber market share stood at 29.4% at the end of Q2'21.
Despite the pandemic related lockdown, Robi's revenue reached Taka 2,031 crore following a rise of 2.5% in Q2'21, compared to the last quarter.
Compared to the same quarter last year, Robi's revenue rose by 15.2%. Voice revenue grew by 1.4% in Q2'21, compared to the last quarter, but compared to the same quarter last year, voice revenue grew by 13.7%.
Besides, data revenue have been speeding up at a faster rate with 3.6% growth in Q2'21, compared to the last quarter. Compared to the same quarter last year, Robi's data revenue grew steeply by 21.9%.
Robi's EBITDA in Q2'21 stood at Taka 854 crore, following a rise of 5.2% compared to the last quarter, but compared to the same quarter last year, EBITDA declined by 3.2%. EBITDA margin at the end of Q2'21 stood at 42.1%.
The company's earnings per share (EPS) at the end of Q2'21 reached Taka 0.09, following a rise of 36% compared to last quarter, compared to the same quarter last year, the underlying EPS growth rate was 17.8%. Steadily rising EPS is the result of organic EBITDA growth.
Mahtab Uddin Ahmed said the regulatory landscape continues to make them concerned.
Citing the lack of effective implementation of the SMP regulation, he observed that the overall competitive distortions are pushing the market to the brink of failure, and such fragile state of the competitive landscape is making it difficult to achieve the condition of economic efficiency.