Grameenphone is pressing the regulator for logical SMP directives

Grameenphone is pressing the regulator for logical SMP directives that build greater competition in the market rather than imposing directives that penalize efficient operations and timely investments and raise barriers against better customer services.

Suggesting that existing laws and regulations adequately focus on fair competition, Grameenphone Head of Regulatory Affairs, Hossain Sadat, who was present at the session, questioned the need for separate SMP regulations and directives to create a competitive environment.

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Sadat raised a concern that the remedies proposed by the regulator as well as the the process leading up to the remedies are unprecedented in other SMP regimes; particularly when there is no evidence of abuse of dominant position or anti-competitive behavior by the identified entity. He opined that the initial SMP directives were not designed to bolster competition rather to transfer value from one operator to another. “SMP directives should not be used to restrict the ability for entities to grow, innovate and invest,” he stressed.

“Labeling an entity an SMP and imposing restrictive and asymmetrical directives without clear rationale or evidence of abuse due to dominance or joint dominance in the market runs counter to principles of fair competition and and is ultimately detrimental to create value for customers,” he said.

The directives that has been issued by the regulator can be deemed to be anti-competitive where it should create an environment in the market where the operators can flourish on their own merit.

Grameenphone was labeled a Significant Market Power (SMP) last week. As per the BTRC parameters a telecom operator will be identified as an SMP if they have a minimum 40% market share in the following three areas: a) customer base, b) annual revenue, or, c) allotted spectrum. Grameenphone has been identified as an SMP because it meets two of the aforementioned three criteria. Presently none of the operators have more than 40% allotted spectrum holdings.

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