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18 January, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Print
Implementation of SMP guidelines

BTRC moves fast to break monopoly of telcos

Tareque Moretaza, Dhaka
BTRC moves fast to break monopoly of telcos

The decision to start the implementation of the criterion of significant market power (SMP) will be finalised at an upcoming meeting of the regulatory body. At the meeting, the top mobile phone operators of the country are likely to be designated ‘SMPs’.

Earlier, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) finalised a set of policy guidelines for telecom operators to create a level playing field and promote competition in telecommunications industry.

BTRC chairman Md Jahurul Haque said, “We do not want to name any organisation as a significant market power (SMP) right now.”

According to the decision of the commission meeting, the BTRC will make sure that the significant market power (SMP) criterion is implemented in order to create a level playing field in the telecom sector, he added.

The minister for post, telecommunications and information technology, Mustafa Jabbar, said, “We will implement significant market power (SMP). We have to do this. Otherwise, there will be no equality in the telecom market.”

“These guidelines have been finalised after taking everyone along with it. Some operators or organisations will be affected commercially but they have accepted it in the interest of the level playing field,” Jabbar added.

In November 2018, the BTRC issued a gazette signed by BTRC chairman Md Jahurul Haque in this respect. The new guidelines stipulate that an operator should be considered a significant market power (SMP) if its market share is above 40 per cent.

If any operator violates the guidelines, the commission will take action as per Section 64 of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Act, 2001 (amended 2010). It also allows the regulator to impose a fine of up to Tk. 300 crore and a five-year jail term in case of non-payment of the fine within the timeframe set by the commission.

According to the new guidelines, the country’s leading mobile phone operator, Grameenpnone, will be considered an SMP, given its 45.8 per cent market share. The second largest mobile phone operator, Robi, enjoys a 30 per cent market share, while Banglalink has a 22 per cent market share and Teletalk accounts for just 2.5 per cent of the market.

Grameenphone has received 53 per cent of the total revenues of the market in 2017. Robi's market share was 28 per cent while Banglalink had an 18 per cent market share.

The special tariff and tax system will be applicable to any organisation incorporated in the SMP group, said the BTRC.

The BTRC had planned to launch the policy in 2011 and prepared the SMP guidelines to this end. On August 21, 2011, it had sent the guidelines to the posts and telecommunications ministry for approval.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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