Bangladeshi GSM operator Banglalink, controlled by Egypt-based Orascom Telecom, signed up 580,000 net new users in the fourth quarter of 2006 to take its total customer base to 3.276 million, up from 1.221 million at the beginning of the year, giving it a 15.5% market share. The rapid growth led to a fall in ARPU from USD3.3 in the previous quarter to USD3.1, down from USD4.9 at end-2005, with only 4.3% of its customers on post-paid tariffs. Banglalink’s CAPEX reached USD126 million in 2006, up from USD113 the previous year. Its annual revenues rose by USD54.5 million year-on-year to USD93.5 million whilst EBITDA losses narrowed by USD9 million to USD29 million.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, at the end of 2006 Bangladesh was home to over 21 million mobile subscribers, giving a cellular penetration of around 14.5%. GrameenPhone led the market with 10.759 million subscribers, followed by Telecom Malaysia International Bangladesh (AKTEL) with a total of 5.762 million users. Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited (CityCell) trailed Banglalink with 1.082 million customers, ahead of fifth-placed BTTB (Teletalk) with an estimated 395,000 users. A sixth player, Warid Telecom Bangladesh, is preparing to launch later this year.