The gradual recovery of economic activities has started benefitting the business sector as the country's leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone registered 22% profit growth in the third quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.
The quarterly business update released on Monday shows that the company's net profit was around Tk890 crore in the third quarter, which was about Tk727 crore in the previous quarter and also in 2019 Q3.
Besides profit growth, the country's largest digital service provider also saw 22.5% growth in its earnings per share, which reached Tk6.59 from Tk5.38 in the previous quarter.
At the same time, the mobile operator saw 7.53% rise in revenue in Q3 compared to the previous quarter. In the third quarter, it reported a revenue of around Tk3,556 crore.
However, compared to the same period last year, revenue fell by 7.73%. In Q3 last year, its revenue was a little more than Tk3,659 crore.
The mobile operator's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Yasir Azman said, "Grameenphone is reporting a recovering topline in the third quarter of 2020 as the economic activity in the country gradually resumes following the initial months of the Covid-19 pandemic."
During the third quarter, Grameenphone invested Tk320 crore – excluding licence and lease – for network coverage, adding 1,070 new 4G network sites across the country.
The investment helped the operator gain 32 lakh new users, which made up its subscriber base of 7.76 crore.
"Our network rollout significantly increased in the third quarter, allowing us to expand our 4G footprint," said Yasir Azman.
In the third quarter, the operator's total active 4G data users reached 1.78 crore.
However, due to some regulatory restrictions from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), Grameenphone's earnings from interconnection decreased sharply.
In the second quarter, Grameenphone earned Tk144 crore from other operators exchanging their calls through its network.
However, the BTRC made Grameenphone pay Tk0.03 more to the non-significant market power operators (non-SMPs) for per-minute calls its subscribers make to another network.
Grameenphone is considered a significant market power operator as it has a market share of above 40%. All other operators are non-SMP.
Due to this restriction, Grameenphone's interconnection revenue dropped to Tk130 crore in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, the company paid Tk7,130 crore, 68% of its total revenue, to the national exchequer in the form of taxes, VAT, duties, 4G licence and spectrum assignment fees in the first nine months of 2020.