From today Grameenphone will have to pay higher interconnection cost compared to its competitors in the sector – as part of the telecom regulator's move to shake up the mobile telephone landscape.
On June 21 this year, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) imposed three conditions while referring to the operator as a significant market power (SMP). The first two conditions took effect on July 1.
As per the third condition, Grameenphone will pay three paisa more to non-SMP operators for per minute calls its subscribers make to another networks.
At present, the interconnection cost is 10 paisa a minute for everyone.
The BTRC has specified that Grameenphone will continue to pay 10 paisa to other carriers if its customers make a call to those carriers.
However, the country's remaining three operators in their turn will pay three paisa less, or seven paisa a minute, to Grameenphone.
In a statement Grameenphone said it continues to work with the regulator, aiming to establish a best practice SMP framework.
Meanwhile, the company has implemented and complied with the latest BTRC directive relating to asymmetric interconnection charges effective from July16.
As per the first directive the BTRC issued under the SMP guidelines, it is mandatory for Grameenphone to seek approval from the regulator for introducing any new packages and offers and it will have to validate the existing packages and offers by August 31.
With the second condition, the regulatory authority has reduced the mobile number portability (MNP) lock-in period for Grameenphone.
Any Grameenphone subscriber, therefore, can now switch to another operator after 60 days of subscription. The period is 90 days for the subscribers of other operators.
Challenging the BTRC's imposition, however, Grameenphone had filed a petition with the High Court.
But the court removed the writ petition from its cause list.
According to SMP guidelines, the BTRC can put an SMP label and subsequent restrictions on a network operator if it controls more than 40 percent market share in terms of the number of subscribers, revenues, and spectrum or any of these categories.
The regulations were initiated in 2011 by the BTRC and was finalised in November 2018.
Grameenphone holds 45.64 percent share of the subscriber base and more than 50 percent revenue share.