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Bangladesh: Basic argument against proposed VAS licensing rules appears to have been accepted

In May LIRNEasia responded to a consultation on proposals for VAS licensing in Bangladesh. Our response received wide coverage too.

It appears that we (among others) may have influenced the government’s response, as reported in the Daily Star.

The telecom ministry will form a five-member panel to examine the issues related to mobile phone value-added service (VAS).

The decision came yesterday at a meeting attended by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and ministry officials and representatives of mobile operators and content developers.

The VAS guideline drafted by BTRC in January was met with objections from mobile operators as they felt it disproportionately favoured the local IT firms.

The guideline permits only local content developers to provide VAS, a contradiction to the terms and conditions of the recently renewed 2G mobile phone licences which include VAS permits as well.

“The operators have formed their business model for the next 15 years around the fine prints of the renewed licences. That would be turned upside down if the proposed draft takes effect,” said Sunil Kanti Bose, telecom secretary.

This illustrates the value of public consultation.

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