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Mobile internet users fall by 4 lakh in Nov

  • Published at 03:23 pm December 24th, 2019
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AFP

Data revenue is the future of the mobile phone companies as more and more services are becoming internet-based

The number of active mobile internet users of the country declined by four lakh in November as two largest mobile phone operators are barred from offering new packages following audit dispute with the telecom regulator.

According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission data, the total number of mobile internet users in the country was 9.33 crore in November, down from 9.37 crore in October.

The mobile internet users had been witnessing growth in the country until last year and in the first 11months of the current year four mobile companies added 17 lakh new users.

In July, however, the total number of mobile internet users fell by 23,000 when the BTRC barred leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone and the second largest operator Robi from approving new service packages.   

The BTRC move came after the two operators had declined to pay Tk13,446 crore in government audit claims.

After an audit of the two mobile phone operators, the BTRC in 2016 claimed Tk12,579.95 crore from GP and Tk867.23 crore from Robi in taxes and late fees accumulated over several years.

On July 22, the BTRC decided not to give any kind of approval to the two mobile phone operators to roll out new packages or services, or import network equipment to pressure them into clearing the dues.

Officials at the mobile phone companies said data revenue was  major growth component for the mobile phone industry after the launch of 4G technology in February last year.

“Data revenue is the future of the mobile phone companies as more and more services are becoming internet-based. Such a big slump in data users is very worrisome,” a senior official of a mobile phone company told Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday.

Grameenphone earned Tk1,410 crore from January to June in data revenue, up from Tk1,190 crore in the first six months of the previous year. 

Robi earned Tk1,062 crore, according to its parent company’s quarterly report, which was Tk799 crore during the same period last year.

Banglalink, the third biggest operator, made Tk429 crore up from Tk341 crore in the same period in 2018. 

The revenue earning of state-run mobile operator Teletalk was not available.

Brig Gen SM Farhad (Retd), secretary general of AMTOB, said: "Due to NOC ban on top two operators by the regulators most of the subscribers deprived of benefits of new packages. Also this restriction has direct impact on network expansion and quality of service which might have impacted the numbers. Moreover, additional levies imposed in the last budget over SIM and internet use might have also impacted."

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