Grameenphone restrictions go | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 20, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, March 20, 2019

Grameenphone restrictions go

The telecom regulator yesterday lifted the four restrictions it had imposed on Grameenphone after the penalties were challenged in the High Court.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) issued a letter, withdrawing its previous orders that had imposed the restrictions, which came into effect on March 1.

GP had been slapped with the restrictions as part of the penalties for becoming a significant market power (SMP) operator.

The restrictions banned GP from giving out adverts and signing exclusive deals with goods and service providers. The regulator had also ordered GP to bring down the call-drop rate to 2 percent whereas the acceptable call drop rate is 3 percent for other operators.

The regulator had also asked the operator not to conduct nationwide promotional campaigns on the back of its dominance.

In another restriction, the telecom watchdog had made it easier for a user to leave GP under the mobile number portability facility.

Currently, if a subscriber wants to switch to a network they will have to stay with the new carrier at least for 90 days. But such subscribers can quit the GP network after 30 days.

The restrictions were imposed through two letters from the BTRC on February 10 and 18. After the imposition of the restrictions, GP challenged their legality at the High Court.

The HC has stayed the restriction that had banned GP from giving adverts. It also asked why the other restrictions would not be declared illegal as the telecom regulator did not follow rules while enforcing the measures. The BTRC will now proceed as per rules, said a senior official of the regulator.

GP welcomed the new move.

Md Hasan, deputy general manager for external communications at GP, said the operator has supported a competitive framework in the market.

“We will continue to work closely with the regulator to ensure our customers' right to avail the best telecom services and for realisation of the government's vision of a Digital Bangladesh.”

The regulator had imposed the four restrictions as part of its plan to put into effect a total of 16 measures. According to the BTRC's new decision, it will now seek opinions from GP about the 20 restrictions.

The BTRC rules stipulate that if an operator has more than 40 percent market share in terms of customer base or revenues and has the power to control the market, it can be declared as a SMP. In 2018, GP held 46.33 percent share of the active customer base. For the last few years, its revenue share has been more than 50 percent.

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