The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission on Monday invited offers from eligible parties for licence for providing mobile number portability service.
The commission will pick only one company for the service.
The BTRC took the move after the posts and telecommunication ministry approved the guidelines on MNP service that would allow users to switch operator keeping their existing number unchanged.
This service will help improve the service quality of the mobile operators and fortify customers’ right, said BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood.
The option will make the market more competitive and push operators to improve their service quality to hold on to subscribers, said Mahmood.
On Monday, telecom state-minister Tarana Halim in a Facebook post said that the guidelines on MNP service had already been sent to the BTRC after the approval from the finance ministry and from the Prime Minister’s Office.
She also said that all the required procedures had already been completed and now it was just a matter of formalities to introduce the service for people.
It would take six to nine months to take technical preparation to open MNP service to the users, she added.
MNP service licence acquisition fee has been set at Tk 10 crore as the licence would be awarded through a ‘beauty contest’ process instead of auction.
Under the beauty contest process, a BTRC-formed committee will mark interested companies out of 100.
The basis of the marking, among others, will include participant’s experience,
financial capability and foreign affiliation.
The winning company will have to share 15 per cent of its revenues with the government from the second year onwards.
The operator must provide the service within 180 days of getting the licence or face penalty, according to the guidelines.
The commencement of the service will allow a mobile subscriber to switch from one operator to another with just Tk 30 as fees without changing his/her existing number.
The guidelines also allow the government to cancel any entity’s application if it fails to attain security clearance.
Foreign affiliated firms will be allowed to hold highest 51 per cent stake in a MNP service providing entity.
The BTRC was scheduled to hold the MNP service auction by September last year but postponed it amid security concerns as all the selected firms had foreign partners.
Currently, some 72 countries including neighbouring India and Pakistan have already adopted the popular system for their customers, with Singapore being the pioneer in this field.
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