Finally, some good news from Dhaka. Four mobile operators have cooperatively started to swap frequencies to yield a more rational arrangement. Congratulations to the regulator, the industry body and the operators. After the rearrangement process, the quality of services of the mobile operators will be better than before with reduced call drops and more efficient network, said Abu Saeed Khan, secretary general of Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB). Explaining the matter, Khan said, if you have three pieces of land in different places, you will have to make more boundaries to separate your lands from others.
Cynics among us decry the endless seminars and workshops and conferences that seem to be unavoidable feature of business and political life. But if the Bangladesh Daily Star has reported it accurately, the recent seminar on the Bangladesh telecom sector has actually achieved significant results. One of the major problems in Bangladesh is the lack of certainty about whether or how the licenses of four leading mobiles operators, which expire in 2011, will be renewed. Economic theory and common sense say that unless an investor knows how long he has an asset, he will not invest in it. Thus, theory would predict a steep decline in investment in each of the networks as they approached 2011.
Abu Saeed Khan, Senior Policy Fellow, who has been with LIRNEasia from the very beginning, has been appointed as the first Secretary General of AMTOB, the mobile operators association of Bangladesh. We congratulate Abu and wish him the very best in contributing to the advance of Bangladesh through productive private-public partnerships. Knowing Abu, we are confident that he will use this prestigious position to steer Bangladesh away from unproductive confrontations of the type we have seen over the past years, to one where the mobile operators who have done the heavy lifting in getting the people of Bangladesh connected electronically will also be allowed to play their due role in the government’s plans to reach middle-income status by 2021 (the fiftieth anniversary of the republic) through actions such as the implementation of Digital Bangladesh. AMTOB is an industry body and he will have to represent the industry. But we are confident that one can represent an industry and also serve the public interest, especially in the context of a rapidly expanding pie.