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Telecom Operators Data Business Growth Continues

An increasing number of people are opting in for mobile internet, data posted by top 03 telecom brands for the first half of 2016 shows. The top three Telecom operators of the country Grameenphone, Banglalink, and Robi, combinely earned BDT 1,014 crore from data services, a 40% growth from the same period last year. This indicates a growing number of internet users in the country, despite the complaints against the poor quality of data services from telcos in the many areas of the country.

Telecom operators in the country have been extensively promoting data packages along with different types of content services. It seems that this continuous push from the operators hast started to pay off. Revenue from the data services grew for all three operators to 10% from 7.07% a year earlier.


Robi saw the fastest growth in data business during this period. It earned BDT 291 crore from data services in the first half of the year, up from BDT 226 crore a year earlier. The amount is about 12% of its total revenue during this period. Compared to that GP’s data services accounted for 8.98 percent of its total revenue during the first half of 2016, up from 6.62 percent a year earlier. For Banglalink, the second largest operator in the country, data accounted for 9.2% of total revenue during the first half of the year.

Mobile and internet penetration continue to grow in the country. Although there is a dearth of local content online, people use significant time on social media platforms and google. Telecom operators are increasingly getting into digital services business including content generation and distribution. GP has launched a host of digital services in recent times, followed by Banglalink and Robi.

At the same, there is a host of newcomers producing varieties of Bangla content online pushing the internet consumption forward in the country. Although, content is a real barrier to the growth of data consumption, quality of data services from the telecom operators is not that good which causes less repeat use. For some regions, the service is quite bad. Although data revenue is growing but for data services to really grow, Telecom operators need to fix the service quality first.

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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