Bangladesh’s largest cellco GrameenPhone’s revenues climbed by 9.4% year-on-year to BDT25.0 billion (USD317 million) in the third quarter of 2013, which it attributed to an increase in user traffic driven by attractive recharge-based campaigns and rate cutting promotions, while growth in interconnection minutes and higher device sales also contributed significantly. Profit also rose due to higher revenue and lower operating expenses driven by lower subscriber acquisition cost resulting from SIM tax reduction, and EBITDA margin for July-September 2013 increased by 6.3 percentage points year-on-year to 57.4%, while the company posted quarterly net profit of BDT5.74 billion, or a 22.9% margin. During the third quarter, GrameenPhone added 2.07 million net new mobile subscriptions, taking its total at 30 September 2013 to 46.04 million, it announced at a press conference.
Having bought a 2100MHz 3G licence in an auction held on 8 September 2013, GrameenPhone launched commercial W-CDMA/HSPA services in October in a few selected areas. As reported by Bangladeshi newspaper the Financial Express, the cellco’s CEO Vivek Sood told the media that the operator is currently adding around 1,000 to 1,200 3G subscribers per day. Although 3G coverage is currently limited to a few zones in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet, the new network will cover 40% of the customer base in the first quarter of 2014, Sood added. The company’s network CAPEX reached a total of BDT19.6 billion in Q3 2013 including the acquisition of the largest slot (2×10MHz) of UMTS spectrum in the 3G auction.