Robi posted a profit of Tk 148.70 crore in the July to September quarter thanks to the regulatory bar on making new investments before the settlement of the audit claims, its parent Axiata said yesterday. 

“It’s not a healthy process to make profit,” Robi’s CEO Mahtab Uddin Ahmed told The Daily Star in a recent interview, giving a hint on the possible profit. 

Ahmed then said Robi’s third quarter financial statement may show that the operator has made an ‘unwanted’ profit. “The operator does not want to make profit this way,” he added. 

“It will affect the whole industry in the long run.” 

In the April to June quarter, Robi bagged only Tk 1.2 crore in profits.  

On July 22 this year, the telecom watchdog barred Grameenphone and Robi from spending new funds in network expansion and management, which put a hold on Robi’s planned investment of $150 million since then. 

However, Robi has a plan to invest $248 million in 2019 to expand their network and capacity. 

In a statement, Shahed Alam, chief corporate and regulatory officer at Robi, yesterday said, “We would have definitely preferred to have made this profit under normal business environment. Unfortunately, due to the protracted tussle over the disputed audit claims, we are worried whether we can end the year with a profit margin.” 

“We are truly touched by their [customers] continued support towards us. Even in these difficult times, they have given us resounding endorsement on the superiority of our network as five out of seven customers who have availed the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service have switched to our network from other networks.” 

Robi also logged its recorded highest ever revenue of Tk 1,902.3 crore in July-September quarter, a 10.1 percent year-on-year rise. 

In the quarter, Robi’s revenue market share also increased by 0.3 percentage points year-on-year to 28.2 percent. 

However, the surprise introduction of new taxes, including the rise in tax on revenue from 0.75 percent to 2 percent, in the latest national budget would negatively impact Robi, officials of the company said. 

In the July-September quarter, Robi’s average revenue per customer per month also rose 4.2 percent year-on-year to Tk 125.  Of the total revenue, Robi is now getting 29 percent from data business, which was 25 percent in the same period last year, thanks to the roll-out of 4G services. 

At the end of September, Robi had 4.82 crore active customers with 29.49 percent market share, which was more than 30 percent in the same period last year.