Cellcos fight draconian telecoms law proposals, SIM tax

24 Jun 2010

The Association of Mobile Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) voiced its opposition to proposed amendments to the country’s Telecommunications Act at a press conference on Tuesday, local newspaper The Financial Express reports. The Telecommunication (Amendment) Bill 2010 was placed before Parliament on 13 June and referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Post and Telecommunication. AMTOB highlighted that the Bill in its current form would increase the maximum level of fines for telecoms operators to BDT3 billion (USD42 million) from the existing cap of BDT1 million, which is ‘astronomically’ high when compared to any other sector in the country and the level of telecoms fines allowed in neighbouring countries. Other proposals contained in the Bill which are being opposed by AMTOB include: giving the regulator the right to change licence conditions without consulting operators; allowing the arrest of telecoms stakeholders without a warrant for suspicion of lawbreaking; scrapping operators’ right of appeal against regulatory decisions; and increasing the powers of the communications ministry to include some of those currently held by the autonomous Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). Representatives of AMTOB include CEOs and directors of GrameenPhone, Banglalink, Robi, CityCell, Warid (Bangladesh) and state-owned Teletalk. At the press hearing AMTOB also made a plea for the removal of an existing mobile SIM card tax for the sake of industry growth.



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