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The Financial Express

GP goes to court against BTRC's SMP instructions

FE Report | Published: June 29, 2020 09:51:21 | Updated: June 30, 2020 10:10:39


The logos of Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission and Grameenphone are seen in this photo collage The logos of Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission and Grameenphone are seen in this photo collage

The country's largest telecom operator Grameenphone once again filed a writ petition against the regulator's imposition of SMP instructions on the operator.

On Monday last, the Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) imposed two conditions on GP under the Significant Market Power (SMP) guidelines, aiming to create a level playing ground for all telecom operators.

Confirming the writ petition, an official in BTRC legal department confirmed the filing of writ petition.

He said he heard GP filed a writ petition on Sunday with the High Court seeking cancellation of two conditions on GP.

"But BTRC hasn't yet been notified about the petition," he said.

The imposition came after one and half years of SMP guidelines.

In February last year, the BTRC declared GP as an SMP operator in an attribution that opened the path for engineering several strategic moves to curb its dominance in the local telecom market.

Later, GP went to court to stop the move BTRC finally won.

On December 15 last year, the HC bench headed by Justice Farah Mahbub, passed a order, allowing the BTRC to impose the Significant Market Power Regulations 2018.

After five months, BTRC imposed two conditions on GP including taking permission before introducing any package, service and offer and also take permission for existing offers and services.

Usually, the BTRC approves packages for one year and then the operators are allowed running such packages for more than one year, subject to intimation to the commission.

The other restriction involves reducing the mobile number portability (MNP) lock-in period from 90 days to 60 days.

That does mean any GP subscriber now can switch to other operators after 60 days under the MNP service while subscribers from other operators requires 90 days before switching to GP.

However, Grameenphone said the restrictions deviate from the objectives of the SMP regulations and are not based on evidence of market failure.

On last Monday, Hossain Sadat, Director, Head of Public and Regulatory Affairs of Grameenphone Ltd., said the Bangladesh mobile telecom market is competitive and Grameenphone has grown through timely investment, innovations and operational efficiency.

"The latest impositions deviate from the objectives of the SMP regulations and are not based on evidence of market failure," he said.

Mr Sadat also said these asymmetric impositions are anti-competitive in nature, which he believes are not in the interest of consumers and will have an adverse impact on the national exchequer and the investment climate.

bdsmile@gmail.com

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