POST TIME: 17 December, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Creating level playing field for tecos
Guidelines on SMP to be implemented soon
Tareque Moretaza, Dhaka

Guidelines on SMP to be implemented soon

Bangladesh Telecommuni-cation Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Md Jahirul Haque said the guidelines on significant market power (SMP) will be implemented soon to create a level playing field in telecom industry.

The commission is working to promote competition and to abolish discrimination in telecommunications industry, Jahirul Haque said.

“We are working sincerely, BTRC has recently finalised a policy guideline for telecom operators and it will be implement soon,” the BTRC chairman said.

The new guideline says an operator should be considered as a significant market power (SMP) if its market share is above 40 per cent.

If any operator violates the guideline, the commission will take action as per Section 64 of the Bangladesh Telecommuni-cation Act 2001(amended 2010).

It also allows the regulator to impose a fine up to Tk. 300 crore and five years of jail in case of non-payment of the fine within the timeframe set by the commission.

“We'll implement the guideline to create a level playing field and encourage competition in the telecommunications industry,” BTRC Chairman Md Jahirul Haque told The Independent .

According to the new guideline, the country’s leading mobile phone operator, Grameen-pnone, will be considered as a SMP owing to its 46 per cent market

share. The second largest mobile phone operator, Robi, enjoys 30 per cent of the market share, while Banglalink has 22 per cent of the market share.     

The special tariff and

tax system will be applicable for any organisation incorporated in the SMP group,

said the BTRC. Md Jahirul Haque also said Grameen-pnone was likely to be considered as an SMP in keeping with the new guideline.

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

In 2012, the Posts and Telecommuni-cations Division requested the BTRC to scrutinise the guidelines under the Competitiveness Act of 2012. The BTRC sent the guideline back to the Division in the same year after scrutiny.

In 2015, the BTRC requested the Telecom Division to approve the guideline. Subsequently, the Posts and Telecommunications Division sent a letter to the BTRC in April, asking the regulator to review the guideline and to consider the opinions of the Investment Board, the industries ministry and the finance ministry once again.

In the same year, the BTRC forwarded the letters to the Investment Board, the industries ministry and the finance ministry, seeking its opinion on the SMP guideline.

The regulator also held a meeting with mobile phone operators to review their outlooks and recommendations.

Next, the BTRC brought about some changes in the guideline on the basis of the advice of the Investment Board and sent it to the ministry.

According to the International Telecommuni-ation Union (ITU), the creation of an enabling environment for efficient market competition is particularly important in protecting consumers, expanding the set of products and services available, and encouraging innovation.