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Banglalink continues to grow revenues and progresses with its transformation into a digital leader

Dhaka (16 may 2016) – Banglalink, one of the leading digital communications service providers in Bangladesh, announced its results for the first quarter of 2016. Serving over 31.6 million customers, Banglalink has reported continued growth in revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (ebitda).

Banglalink is a part of vimpelcom, an international communications and technology company, committed to bringing the digital world to each and every customer across 14 different markets around the globe.

Erik aas, ceo of Banglalink, said: “our total revenue increased 6% year-on-year to bdt 12.2 billion in the first quarter of 2016. The rise was mainly driven by a 60% increase in data revenue and a 3% increase in voice revenue compared with the first quarter of 2015.”

During the first quarter of 2016, banglalink’s data revenue increased due to new data customers and an increase in data usage from existing customers. The expansion of 3G coverage and an industry-wide increase in smartphone penetration also contributed to a sharp rise. Customers also increased their voice usage, leading to an increase in voice revenue. Despite aggressive price competition, banglalink’s average revenue per user (arpu) increased 4% on the same quarter the previous year mainly as a result of growing data usage.

Compared to the same quarter in 2015, there was a slight decline in banglalink’s customer numbers, as the introduction of strict identity verification procedures contributed to a slowdown in customer growth across the market. Banglalink is one of the leaders in this mobile security initiative, and as of 15 may 2016, has succeeded in verifying 25 million customers. Banglalink believes that this re-verification initiative can provide a solid and secure customer base to develop new revenue from mobile services in e-commerce, content and payment solutions – all of which are in line with its digital leadership strategy.

in the first quarter, banglalink’s underlying ebitda, excluding one-offs mainly related to performance transformation costs, reached bdt 5.9 billion representing 26% year-on-year growth. The increase was driven by both revenue growth and opex control initiatives, in particular, maintenance cost optimization. As a result, the underlying ebitda margin reached 48.1% during the quarter. Banglalink’s capital expenditures in the first quarter amounted to bdt 1.3 billion posting a 44% increase compared with a year earlier as it continues to invest in high-speed data networks. Banglalink’s 3G network covered 34% of the population at the end of the first quarter.

Banglalink wants to connect its customers to the digital world in order to unlock the endless opportunities that digital can brings to consumers lives. To achieve this, Banglalink is preparing itself to meet the needs of customers in the digital age. “We believe that offering digital services is the path to the future,” said Erik aas. “the use of smartphones will grow tremendously, and enable our customers to have their digital lives literally at their fingertips – from entertainment and ecommerce to financial and self-service offerings. To make this a reality for our customers, we at Banglalink are investing heavily in 3G and our organization, as well as our products and services.”

To make digital Bangladesh a reality, in cooperation with the ict ministry, Banglalink recently launched a digital incubation center as part of connecting start up, bangladesh’s project to incubate innovative businesses nationwide. Over 20,000 students participated in banglalink’s grandmaster idea contest to submit concepts for mobile applications with potential to improve the lives of millions. In another digital bangladesh initiative, over 300,000 students across the country were trained through banglalink’s nationwide internet awareness campaign.

“I am pleased with the good progress banglalink is making on its digital journey. I truly believe that we will set banglalink up for success to become a digital service provider for our customers, profitable for our shareholders, and at the same time, be a strong support to the government in achieving its digital Bangladesh goals by 2021,” said Erik aas.