MNP auction to be more competitive, transparent: Tarana

DHAKA : Some conditions of mobile number portability (MNP) is going to be changed for making the license auction procedure more competitive and transparent for ensuring quality of service, reports UNB.
“We are mulling to bring some changes in MNP license issuance process for appointing an operator in more competitive and transparent manner,” state minister for posts and telecommunications Tarana Halim told BSS.
She said Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy has directed them to review the process to make the licensing procedure more transparent and ensure quality of services.
MNP will enable mobile phone users to retain their numbers even after switching from one mobile network operator to another by paying a fixed amount of charge after a timeframe.
On Dec 2, the finance ministry endorsed the proposed MNP policy.
Officials of posts and telecommunications division said procedures of auction and amount of bidding money would be changed along with imposing a few additional requirements, but technical qualifications would remain unchanged.
Replying to a query about any possible delay of the planned auction for bringing changes in some conditions, Tarana Halim vowed to hold the MNP licensing auction in March next, as per the announcement made earlier.
On assuming the charge of the telecommunication sector as the state minister earlier this year, she promised to introduce the MNP by March 2016 so the mobile phone users could choose networks of their choices retaining the same number.
About selecting MNP operators, the state minister said: “We would make grading of the bidder as per their technical and other qualifications to ensure transparency.
“As we are going to introduce the MNP to bring healthy competition in the industry that is why no one could take part in the auction, who has the scope of “conflict of interest,” for the sake of maintaining neutrality and transparency,” she added.
An operator will be given MNP license for 15 years through open auction with BDT 20 lakh as annual license fee. In addition, the MNP operator has to share revenue with the government at 5.5 percent rate from the second year of the license.
A Bangladeshi or expatriate Bangladeshi owned company registered in the country will be eligible to bid in the auction. However, any foreign company with the partnership of Bangladeshi company could also take part in the process.
But, the foreign company can hold highest 51 per cent share, and the company must invest in foreign currency and they could get no chance to mobilize fund from Bangladeshi market.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) would fix all tariffs for MNP operator.
Currently, some 72 countries including neighbouring India and Pakistan have already adopted this system for their customers and Singapore is the pioneer in this field.