Year 2016 started with very challenging business condition resulting from lower subscribers’ base arising from SIM biometric registration compliance imposed by regulator which slowed down new activation and deactivation of non-biometric compliant SIM. Growth momentum of mobile services was further impacted negatively by more expensive mobile services due to additional 1% surcharge and 2% supplementary duty on all mobile services. After biometric re-registration, Robi’s subscriber base stands at 23.8 million, representing 20.5% of industry subscriber market share.
During the period, YTD Q3 16 total revenue contracted by 1.0% compared to the same period of last year, data revenue had registered encouraging growth of 34.1%. Data revenue growth was propelled by significant investment in network coupled with innovative affordable data offerings to drive 3.5G and 2.5G data usage.
Robi achieved operating profit (EBITDA) margin of 32.7% in YTD Q3 16. Margin is 4.0pp (percentage point) lower than the same period of previous year as a result of higher network operating expenses from continued network investment and intense price competition. Due to continuous investment in nationwide network modernization and increased taxation, Robi is behind the expected profitability.
QoQ PERFORMANCE (Q3 2016 vs Q2 2016)
Robi’s active subscriber base decreased to 23.8 million in Q3 2016 due to deactivation of non-compliant SIMs after bio-metric registration cut-off deadline. QoQ revenue grew by 11.5% to BDT 13.9 billion amidst intense price competition. Revenue recovery with customer centric strategy after huge hit for biometric registration campaign which slowed down net addition in Q1 16. QoQ EBITDA grew by 12.1% to BDT 4.5 billion in Q3 2016 driven by strong mobile revenue growth and prudent cost management initiatives implemented across the company. Robi registered BDT 17.6 million PAT in the third quarter impacted by accelerated depreciation resulting from nationwide network modernization especially in Chittagong-Comilla region.
INVESTMENT IN MOBILE NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE
Robi continued investing aggressively to fast-track its 3.5G network expansion and improving 2.5G network quality for better customer experience both in voice and data services. Total CAPEX investment made since inception amounted to BDT 175.2 billion inclusive of BDT 2.9 billion CAPEX investment in the third quarter of 2016. The company has network coverage in all 64 districts in Bangladesh through 8,700+ sites, of which over 5,200 are 3.5G sites.
Robi Managing Director and CEO, Mahtab Uddin Ahmed said, “We experienced solid mobile revenue growth during the third quarter of 2016. However, SIM deactivation after 31st May 2016 for non-compliant biometric registration SIM has negatively impacted the growth momentum of the business. Nevertheless, we are continuing to invest towards expansion and modernization of 2.5G/3.5G network across the country to provide a superior mobile services experience to our subscribers.
During the third quarter of 2016 we continued to bring most innovative and affordable product offers in the market. We introduced a simple and need-based complete mobile solution named ‘ACE’ where users can enjoy bundle pack of talk-time, data and SMS along with free whatsapp, facebook and Robi-Yonder music at reasonable price. Robi also launched its Cloud service for cloud computing and hosting solutions. As a part of corporate responsibility, Robi extended its support towards ‘10 Minutes School’, an online platform that offers comprehensive education content free of cost.
PAYMENT TO STAKEHOLDERS
In Q3 2016, the company contributed BDT 3.5 billion to the Government Exchequer representing 25.3% of company revenue. Since inception in 1997, Robi has paid more than BDT 170.3 billion to the Government Exchequer while for the same period remitted BDT 2.9 billion dividends to its shareholders.
ABOUT ROBI AS THE MERGED COMPANY
Robi Axiata Limited is a joint venture between Axiata Group of Malaysia, Bharti Airtel, of India and NTT Docomo Inc., of Japan. Axiata holds 68.7% controlling stake in the entity, Bharti holds 25% while the remaining 6.3% is held by NTT Docomo of Japan. It is the second largest mobile phone operator of Bangladesh with approximately 32.2 million active subscribers. The company provides widest network coverage to 99% of the population with over 13,900 on-air sites of which over 8,000 are 3.5G sites. Robi is the first operator to introduce GPRS and 3.5G services in Bangladesh. The company has introduced many first of its kind digital services in the country and has invested heavily in taking mobile financial services to the underserved communities in the rural and semi-urban areas. Robi, as a socially responsible brand, has taken up a number of flagship Corporate Responsibility initiatives in the areas of ICT-Education, Health and Environment with a view to contribute towards the sustainable development of the country.