Telecom operators lose 3 million mobile and internet subscribers

Private telecom operators in Bangladesh lost two million mobile subscribers and more than one million internet users in September, according to the latest data from the Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC).

The total number of subscribers in the country fell by 2.15 million in September to 181.43 million, according to the latest data.

In contrast, the number of subscribers stood at 183.58 million in August.

Grameenphone (GP), one of the country’s leading telecom operators, lost 1.2 million subscribers in September, while Robi Axiata lost 590,000 and Banglalink 420,000.

However, state-run Teletalk is the only operator in the country to have gained 6,000 subscribers over the same period.

Industry insiders said Grameenphone’s ban on SIM card sales amid economic strains and the rising cost of SIM chips weighed on subscriber growth globally.

According to GP, the overall growth of the telecom industry has slowed due to customer demand and shortage of GP SIM supply in the market caused by the SIM sales ban.

However, GP believes the industry’s growth momentum will be restored once the ban is lifted.

On the other hand, according to Banglalink, no other operator has lost the GP customers due to the ban on the sale of SIM cards due to the global SIM chip crisis.

Banglalink pointed out that a single SIM chip now costs 70 Tk compared to 15 Tk at the beginning of this year, and that the increase in the cost of the SIM chip has impacted the growth of the telecom sector in worldwide.

According to ABI Research, a global technology watch company, some 4.33 billion SIM cards will be shipped globally in 2022, down 8.5% year-on-year as the semi -drivers continues to be negatively affected by several factors.

Covid-19 challenges continue to persist, supply chain constraints, chip shortages and increasing SIM card ASPs are now compounded by a new set of issues including inflation and the growing likelihood recession, which have an impact on forecasts for 2023.

This in turn has prompted multinational telecom operators to switch to e-SIM instead of the removable SIM chip.

GP also introduced eSIM for its customers earlier this year.

Meanwhile, private telecom operators also lost 1.38 million mobile internet subscribers in September, down from 116.12 million to 114.74 million.

However, broadband Internet service providers and public switched telephone networks gained 440,000 subscribers during the period.

The country’s total internet subscribers stood at 126.32 million in September from 127.26 million, according to BTRC data.

Comments are closed.