Robi Axiata Ltd., one of the leading mobile phone operators in the country, has reported a slowdown in revenue growth at 1 per cent between Q2 and Q3 for 2013. This was revealed at a press briefing, organized at Robi Corporate Office in the city on Thursday.
Robi Chief Financial Officer, Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, who presented the results, attributed the growth slowdown to “lower average call rates due to heightened price competition in the market.” EBITDA (Earnings Before Income Tax Depreciation and Amortization) margins, however, improved to 40.2 per cent in part due to lower subscriber acquisition cost and improved efficiency in OPEX. “Reduction of SIM Tax only improved profitability marginally,” the CFO added.
The reduced revenue growth was attributed to the negative impact of political disruptions in overall businesses.
Commenting on the introduction of 3.5G services, the CFO pointed out that the revenue growth was “more significant because data and non-voice were driving the revenue growth for the first time.” Data revenue growth was important at this point particularly because the company has invested a significant amount to expand its 3.5G services. Robi has already made a major investment of TK 8.7 billion to acquire the 3G license on the conclusion of the auction in last September.
As a result of better EBITDA results, Profit After Tax (PAT) was also up TK 300 million to TK 1.4 billion in the third quarter; from TK 1.1 billion in Q2, 2013. Profit, however, was partly offset by increased depreciation due to investments made over the past periods as well as additional amortization recognized for 3G license.
Despite intense market competition, Robi was also been able to increase subscriber numbers by 8.4 per cent from the second quarter to the third, pushing the year on year subscriber growth to 19.4 per cent, for a total of 24.8 million active subscribers at the end of September 2013.
The company has made additional investments in the network with 122 new sites being aired in the third quarter, taking the total number base station sites to 6,300 and covering more than 98 per cent of the population. This network addition was also in support of the 3.5G expansion plans. With this investment the accumulated investment in the network by the company since inception stands at more than TK 117 billion.
Accompanying the CFO at the press briefing were Matiul Islam Nowshad, acting CEO and CHRO; Mahmudur Rahman, EVP, CRL and other senior officials from Robi.