Bangladeshi mobile market leader GrameenPhone, backed by Norway’s Telenor Group, has posted a 9.5% year-on-year revenue increase to BDT27.6 billion (USD344.5 million) in Q1 2016, whilst quarterly EBITDA rose 11.8% to BDT15.3 billion, despite operating costs growing 7% y-o-y to BDT9.8 billion including network CAPEX of BDT9.1 billion in January-March 2016 (compared to BDT3.7 billion in the year-ago quarter). Much of the investment was spent on 3G network expansion, as GrameenPhone added around 1,800 W-CDMA/HSPA+ base stations in 1Q16 for a total of 7,635, taking 3G population coverage to 80% at end-March.
GrameenPhone’s total mobile subscriber base rose by 8% y-o-y to 56.285 million at 31 March 2016, whilst data users grew by 80% to nearly 20 million (and up from 15.7 million reported in the preceding quarter), representing 35% of its overall customers (compared to 21% of the total at end-1Q15). Data revenues increased by 71% to BDT2.8 billion in Q1 2016, accounting for 10.7% of service revenue (up from 6.9% of service revenue a year ago). Voice revenue also continued rising, up by 4.8% y-o-y in Q1, helping to drive ARPU up slightly by BDT1 to BDT156.