One day after the telecom regulator suspended the sale of Grameenphone SIMs, the mobile network operator's share price plunged, making it the top loser at the premier bourse Thursday.
In a statement published at the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) website, the largest mobile service provider in the country said it has received a letter from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on 29 June with an embargo on selling new SIM in connection to quality of services.
BTRC has imposed an indefinite suspension on Grameenphone as it is not providing quality service to its users despite repeatedly being asked to do so, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar said earlier.
At the end of last year, BTRC found in a Quality of Service drive test in the divisional areas that all the mobile operators, except Banglalink, were providing lower speed of the 4G compared to the local benchmark of 7Mbps.
Since trading began at the DSE yesterday, many investors placed orders for selling the Grameenphone shares, fearing that the suspension on SIM sales will hurt the company's earnings.
As customers did not show much interest in the Grameenphone shares, only 1.73 lakh of its shares were traded by the end of the day.
The company's share price dropped 2% to reach Tk294.10 yesterday.
People involved in this sector said the company's share price could drop further, but it did not happen due to the rule that dictates that a share's price can be reduced maximum 2% – instead of 10% – in a trading session. Consequently, the drop in Grameenphone share price did not affect the stock exchange indices.
Earlier, in 2020, BTRC imposed a number of conditions on Grameenphone, declaring the operator as a significant market power (SMP).
As part of the instructions, the regulatory authority reduced the mobile number portability (MNP) lock-in period for Grameenphone. Also, taking approval for all existing and new services, packages, and offers has been made mandatory for the largest operator.
Meanwhile, Grameenphone has reported that its net profit in the first-quarter of 2022 was badly affected by an increase in the modernisation cost and currency devaluation.
During the January-March quarter of this year, its net profit fell by 9% to Tk809.81 crore, while its revenue increased by 4% to reach Tk3,633 crore.
Grameenphone said in a recent press release that in the first three months, the company acquired 0.5 million new subscribers, reaching 83.7 million total subscribers. Around 53.2% or 44.6 million of Grameenphone's total subscribers are using internet services, growing by 6.8% from the same period last year.