BTRC moves to clip GP's dominance

Operator wants best practices to be followed

FE Report | Published: February 11, 2019 09:40:27 | Updated: February 12, 2019 21:33:38

Logo of the country's telecom giant Grameenphone seen in this photo

The telecom regulator has designated Grameenphone as a Significant Market Player (SMP) in an attribution that may lead to several strategic moves to curb its dominance in the local telecom market.

SMP is a regulatory process through which pure competitive condition is maintained in the market. Following its implementation, the large operators do not get chance for doing monopoly business.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission issued a letter to GP in this connection on Sunday.

Copies of the letter were sent to other mobile operators too.

The process will allow the new and small operators get opportunities for providing services to their customers in a friendly atmosphere.

Bangladesh's telecom market, which has long been dominated by a single operator GP, needs SMP regulations to ensure a level-playing field for other operators, officials said.

In this context, the telecom regulator prepared an SMP guideline in 2011. However, the process took seven more years due to incessant bureaucratic entanglement between the BTRC and ministry of posts and telecommunications.

Consequently, BTRC published the finalised SMP guideline in November last year.

Referring to that earlier guideline, the Sunday's letter from BTRC said that if any mobile operator maintains more than 40 per cent share of the total subscriber base or total annual revenue or total spectrum allocated to the mobile operators, it should be declared SMP.

Accordingly Grameenphone, which currently has more than 40 per cent share of the total subscriber base as well as total annual revenue--has been designated as SMP.

As of December 2018, GP holds 46.33 per cent of the total active subscriber base while its revenue share has been more than 50 per cent for the last few years.

BTRC, in its letter, said that it would soon issue relevant dos and don'ts to be applicable to GP under the new circumstances.

"GP would expect that the SMP regulation to follow established international and industry best practices, allowing the entire industry to further develop and grow to deliver on the national ambition of Digital Bangladesh for all," said Syed Talat Kamal, Head of Communications of Grameenphone.

Grameenphoen stated its journey in Bangladesh back in 1997 and over the time, it has become the most dominant player in the market.

As of December last year, it has 72.73 million active subscribers while it generated a profit of around Tk.35.2 billion last year.


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