17 Aug 2023
Stepping up the fintech ambition in Bangladesh, VEON and Banglalink apply for a Digital Banking License
Dhaka, 17 August 2023: VEON Ltd. (NASDAQ: VEON, Euronext Amsterdam: VEON), a global digital operator that provides converged connectivity and online services, announces it has submitted a digital banking license application to the Central Bank of Bangladesh together with Banglalink, its fully owned subsidiary in the country, underscoring the Group’s commitment to digital empowerment in Bangladesh.
Banglalink, a leading mobile operator and provider of digital services to more than 42 million subscribers in Bangladesh, has a proven track record of developing digital services that enable digital inclusion in areas such as digital health, education and entertainment. Banglalink's MyBL super app stands as the cornerstone of digital engagement, catering to a monthly active user base of 7.1 million customers. MyBL is Bangladesh's premier digital health aggregator and also provides an expansive spectrum of services ranging from music, gaming and education to ticket bookings and seamless utility bill payments. Banglalink’s Toffee is the country’s leading entertainment application and OTT platform, serving approximately 10 million audiences monthly with audio and video streaming services accessible to users of all mobile operators. Toffee also hosts the country’s only local User-Generated Content platform consisting of more than two hundred thousand registered local content creators. The company has also made significant investments into its network with its nation-wide expansion strategy, and providing high quality 4G coverage which has been recognized internationally for speed and overall coverage since 2020.
If granted, a digital banking license will accelerate Banglalink’s expansion into the fintech space, adding digital financial services to its Digital Operator offering in Bangladesh, leveraging VEON’s know-how in this area. Across its six markets, VEON group serves 21.6 million monthly active users of its financial services on mobile platforms, including digital lending products in certain VEON markets.
“Bangladesh is a country of 173 million people where banking services penetration is still very low. Digitalization will unlock enormous opportunities for the people of Bangladesh, in line with the Government’s Smart Bangladesh strategy and growth ambition. At Banglalink, we have had the privilege of serving the people of Bangladesh in the earlier stages of this journey, and now we look forward to stepping up to the challenge in digital financial services, leveraging our significant digital know-how and capabilities both at Banglalink’s level and at the Group level” said Erik Aas, CEO of Banglalink.
"Banglalink's ambitions for digital banking underscore VEON’s commitment to digital empowerment, which is a core pillar of VEON's Digital Operator strategy, deployed across all our markets. We have the expertise and the scale to support Banglalink in its drive for innovation, financial inclusion, and digital transformation in Bangladesh. With this important step into financial services, we look forward to support Bangladesh’s growth ambition, building on the great work that the Banglalink team has been doing in transforming people’s lives with their digital services," said Kaan Terzioğlu, Group CEO of VEON.
VEON has launched its Digital Operator 1440 strategy in 2021 and has been building a full suite of digital applications and services across its 6 markets, providing locally relevant digital experiences, supporting digital inclusion and local talent development in digital space. The total number of monthly users of VEON’s operating companies’ digital services amounted to 77.6 million in July 2023, spanning areas including financial services, digital entertainment (TV, music, gaming, and more), digital health, digital learning, business-to-business solutions and industrial applications.
VEON is a global digital operator that currently provides converged connectivity and online services to nearly 160 million customers in six dynamic markets. We are transforming people’s lives, empowering individuals, creating opportunities for greater digital inclusion and driving economic growth across countries that are home to more than 7% of the world’s population. Headquartered in Amsterdam, VEON is listed on NASDAQ and Euronext Amsterdam. For more information, visit: www.veon.com.
Launched in February 2005, with over 40 million subscribers over a decade, Banglalink was the catalyst in making mobile telephony an affordable option for consumers in Bangladesh. The initial success of Banglalink was based on a simple mission: Bringing mobile telephony to the masses, which was the cornerstone of Banglalink’s strategy. Banglalink is now working relentlessly to bring the digital world to each and every customer, building a true digital Bangladesh and moving away from the traditional mobile operator to a tech company. Visit https://banglalink.net/
This release contains “forward-looking statements,” as the phrase is defined in Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts, and include statements relating to, among other things, VEON’s strategy and commercial plans. Forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which VEON cannot predict with accuracy and some of which VEON might not even anticipate. The forward-looking statements contained in this release speak only as of the date of this release. VEON does not undertake to publicly update, except as required by U.S. federal securities laws, any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after such dates or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.