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1 February, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Print
Curbing monopoly in telecom industry

Grameenphone set to be declared SMP

Staff Reporter, Dhaka
Grameenphone set to be declared SMP

The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has decided to declare the country’s leading mobile phone operator, Grameenphone, as a significant market power (SMP), a move to create a level playing field and promote competition in telecom industry.

The decision was taken at a commission meeting on Wednesday. The BTRC (Significant Market Power) Regulations, 2018, which was published in a gazette notification on November 14 last year, allows the commission to declare a mobile phone operator SMP when it holds more than 40 per cent market share in the country’s mobile phone service market.

The commission will provide more details in this regard after completion of the commission’s workout next week. A senior BTRC official said the decision to declare Grameenphone as an SMP was final. The conditions to be imposed on the telecom operator in this regard will be decided as per the SMP guidelines, he added.

The official also said it would take some time to finalise the conditions. It has been known that service quality is one of the conditions. He, however, could not say anything whether the growth rate of customers will be considered or not.

“We are yet to receive any communication from the BTRC declaring GP as an SMP.  GP would expect any SMP regulation to follow best industry practices, allowing the entire industry to further develop and grow to deliver on the national ambition of Digital Bangladesh for all,” according to a Grameenphone statement sent to The Independent through email.

In the country’s mobile phone sector, GP’s market share is 45.83 per cent with 7.14 crore subscribers.

The number of total mobile phone subscribers in Bangladesh was 15.58 crore at the end of September last year.

The market share of the country’s second largest mobile phone operator, Robi Axiata, is 30 per cent, while Banglalink holds 21.63 per cent and state-owned Teletalk 2.53 per cent market shres, respectively, based on their customer bases.

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

If any operator violates the guidelines, the commission will take action as per Section 64 of the Bangladesh Telecommu-nication 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.

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