News From Telecom World

BTRC assures PSTN operators of help

Posted on: October 26, 2008

The parley between telecom regulator and public switched telephony network (PSTN) operators concluded yesterday with a consensus on formation of a working committee comprising representatives from both the sides to resolve the problems the sector now faces.

“At this moment we are happy that the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has admitted our problems,” reacted a representative of the Association of PSTN Operators of Bangladesh after the meeting.

According to this official of the sectoral trade body, high tax on capital machinery, interconnection charge, SMS sharing, tax on connection, mandatory rollout and customer acquisition were high on agenda of the meeting.

Since its inception in 2005, the operators have been unhappy over what they said the policy discrimination in the market.

BTRC Chairman Major General (rtd) Manzurul Alam told The Daily Star recently, “We are aware of the problems in PSTN industry. We will try our best to do what is needed to make a level playing field.”

Meanwhile, industry insiders say since the start of operation of the wireless land phone by the private sector three years back, the industry has been struggling to translate its dream of grabbing a major portion of the growing telecom market.

Operators blame the regulator’s discriminatory policies for the hindrance to their business growth.

Not a single landline operator has yet touched breakeven, they said. As of September 2008, the 11 private landline operators added only 4.5lakh to the total 13.26lakh subscription base. The state-run Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL) holds the lion’s share in this base.

The private PSTN industry has so far invested an amount of Tk1500crore.

“We are not so big. It does not mean we are on the wane,” said a leading operator, urging the telecom regulator to go in a way so that everyone sustains in the market.

Source: Daily Star

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