Telecom sector should get fair share in MFS: S Asia regulators

Staff Correspondent | Published: 16:32, Oct 05,2016 | Updated: 16:40, Oct 05,2016


The telecom regulators of the South-Asian countries on Tuesday said that the telecom sector should get fair share in mobile financial services and also stressed on active participation of the regulators in policy formulation on MFS.

A three-day long South Asian Telecommunication Regulatory Council (SATRC) summit got underway on the day in the capital hosted by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and organised by Asia-Pacific Telecommunity.

Regulators placed their demand on the opening day of the SATRC in a session titled Evolution of Regulatory Framework in South Asia and Asia-Pacific : The Regulatory Tools Required.

‘Our position is clear here. As banks are using telecom infrastructures for their services we need to comply with them. But it is our infrastructure and we want a fair share. We have no intention to control MFS,’ said Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chairman RS Sharma.

He said in India some mobile phone operators also got MFS licenses and operators are trying to reduce infrastructures cost to make the service more affordable for the poor people.

‘Banking information is like any other messages or contents that is transmitted through the telecom infrastructures,’ he said.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority chairman Syed Ismail Shah said that in Pakistan central bank and telecom regulator have their separate regulations for MFS.

‘But we have a memorandum of understanding with the central bank and our MFS operate through this process,’ he said.

He said banks are responsible for their part of the service and operators are responsible for their part of the service.

Nepal Telecommunication Authority chairman Digambar Jha said that empowering telecom regulator is important and in Nepal anyone willing to use MFS need to obtain permission from the NTA.

Currently, the mobile operators in Bangladesh are demanding higher revenue share in the MFS and the Bangladesh Bank and BTRC are yet to resolve the matter.

In Bangladesh, MFS services are running through banking model and currently there are 3.66 crore active MFS accounts.

Earlier in the opening session, law minister Anisul Huq said for promoting trade and commerce of these region regulators should find out a common framework of MFS for the entire region.

‘I want to request the members of this forum to interconnect mobile financial services within the region, hence promoting the trade and commerce among the people of the region,’ he said.

He said that MFS can play a very important role to take the baking service to the rural population in the country.

‘In today’s world, financial inclusion is fundamental for social inclusion and it is necessary to foster inclusive growth and combat poverty,’ he said.

BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood was declared the new chairman of SATRC for one year.

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