The Financial Express

Bangladesh records 4.5m new mobile users in 2020

| Updated: January 15, 2021 20:44:06

Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
- Picture used for illustrative purpose - Picture used for illustrative purpose

The year 2020 saw more than 4.5-million new mobile subscribers despite the impact of Covid-19 on the economy from March last year.

Industry insiders said nearly 4.0-million mobile subscribers left their networks at the onset of the pandemic.

However, they have returned to the networks in recent months along with the new addition of subscribers.

The total number of mobile SIM users, irrespective of operators, reached 170.13 million last December, disclosed the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) from 165.57 in December 2019.

With this new addition, the country's tele-density surpassed 100 per cent in 2020.

"In a multi-SIM-driven market like Bangladesh, we had to lose nearly 4.0-million subscribers from our networks," Robi Axiata chief corporate and regulatory officer Shahed Alam Ltd told the FE.

The number of total internet, including cellular data, users reached 111.87 million last December from 99.42 million in December 2019, adding 1.2 million in 2020.

Along with an increased number of new internet users, the usage of data volume rose manifold last year as well, according to the BTRC data.

However, mobile phone operators said much of the benefits of the increased internet usage did not go to their pockets because of reduced data prices.

"There was a big upsurge in data usage during the pandemic. But it didn't make higher revenue (for us)," Mr Alam mentioned.

"We had to reduce data prices, considering the economic hardship endured by a large segment of our customers during the period," he explained.

Leading telecoms carrier Grameenphone reached 79.03 million in December 2020 from 76.46 in December 2019, adding more than 2.0 million new users in the year.

Robi added nearly 2.0-million new customers the same year, taking its total subscribers to 50.9 million.

On the other hand, Banglalink added 4,00,000 new users in 2020, taking its total subscribers to 35.2 million.

The state-run Teletalk added 5,00,000 new subscribers, reaching its customers 4.92 million in December 2020.

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