Leading private mobile operator Grameenphone lost around a record six lakh subscribers in February this year, while the second largest operator Robi gained almost the same number of customers in the same month, according to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BRTC) data.
Besides, the third largest operator Banglalink got 5.3 lakh new subscribers in the same time.
According to BTRC data, in December, GP had 76.462 million customers, which dropped to 75.860 million in February.
On the other hand Robi's subscribers in December were 49.004 million, however it went up to 49.611 million in February. Meanwhile, Banglalink's subscribers in December were 35.239 million. The operator also secured a handsome number of new subscribers and the total figure goes up to 35.770 million in February.
Regarding the subscriber loss, GP's Head of External Communications Muhammad Hasan said, "We had scarcity of prepaid SIMs in the market as we did not get approval from the telecom operator to issue new SIMs."
Earlier on February 3, Chief Executive Officer Yasir Azman said, "There could be a SIM crisis like that of onions. Currently, there is a daily demand for 50,000 new SIMs. But the BTRC stopped issuing no-objection certificates to Grameenphone last year."
"Three million existing SIMs have got stuck in the recycling process as we are yet to get the government's go-ahead signal. It will be impossible for us to meet the market demand for more than two or three weeks with the SIMs we have," he added then.
The BTRC stopped Grameenphone from making new investments in July last year to realise its disputed audit claims.