Telenor subsidiary GrameenPhone, the largest mobile operator in Bangladesh by users, has posted a 38.6% year-on-year rise in local currency net profit in the first quarter of 2010 to BDT3.2 billion (USD46.6 million), driven mainly by revenue growth, continuing cost optimisation initiatives and lower debt costs. The GSM operator reported revenues of BDT17.0 billion in the three months ended 31 March 2010, up by 8% from the first quarter of 2009. Data revenues contributed to the revenue growth, increasing by 65% year-on-year and 13% quarter-on-quarter, whilst an increase in subscription acquisition costs caused by the cellco’s subsidisation of SIM card tax pushed its EBITDA margin down to 55% compared to 59% in the same period a year earlier. During 1Q10 GrameenPhone’s total number of subscriptions increased by 645,000 to 23.9 million. Also during the quarter, the company opened up new revenue streams by signing infrastructure sharing agreements with rival cellcos Banglalink and Robi (formerly AKTEL), which it says will generate better returns from its backbone infrastructure whilst contributing to more efficient utilisation of national resources in the telecoms sector.
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