VEON Ltd, the parent company of Banglalink, has submitted an application to the Central Bank of Bangladesh seeking a licence to operate digital banking in the country.
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, according to a press release.
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, providing 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 in its network with its nationwide expansion strategy, providing high-quality 4G coverage that has been recognised internationally for speed and overall coverage since 2020.
If granted, a digital banking licence will accelerate Banglalink’s expansion into the fintech space, adding digital financial services to its Digital Operator offering in Bangladesh, and leveraging VEON’s know-how in this area.
Across its six markets, the 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 service 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," said Erik Aas, CEO of Banglalink.
"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," he said.
"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 supporting 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 launched its Digital Operator 1440 strategy in 2021 and has been building a full suite of digital applications and services across its six markets, providing locally relevant digital experiences, supporting digital inclusion, and supporting local talent development in the 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.