Call to reduce intra-SAARC phone tariffs published in Bangladesh too

Posted on July 27, 2008  /  3 Comments

The op-ed piece written up on the basis of one of the LIRNEasia benchmark studies, has been published in the leading Bangladesh newspaper, Daily Star. The data and recommendations thus have been published, in various forms, in the special issue of Himal Southasian, in The Dawn, as a Choices column on LBO, and also flashed by AFP. As a result of the latter, it has got play in a number of publications, including in a Vietnam publication, the Mirror online (Sri Lanka), etc. has also started a discussion.

Indian papers were unfortunately too preoccupied with the Parliamentary drama around the confidence motion. And then Ahmedabad happened. But we keep hoping. Bhutan and Maldives may come in too.

The test of course is whether intra-SAARC prices come down. It has been reported that Sri Lanka’s largest mobile operator has dropped prices to SAARC countries to LKR 15/mt (app. USD 0.15). If this holds, we would have done something.

Detailed information on international voice prices may be found here.


  1. Another Vietnam publication has carried a related story at:

    However, this mentions roaming, which is puzzling. Perhaps a reader who understands Vietnamese can explain why roaming is mentioned in the report?

  2. Hi Prof:

    LIRNE research has paid off. Below is the quote in point 6 of the Colombo SAARC declaration:

    “The Heads of state or government observerd that an effective and economical regional tele-communication regime is an essential factor of connectivity, encouraging the growth of people-centric partnerships. They stressed the need for the member states to endeavour to move towards a uniformly applicable low tariff, for international direct dial calls within the region”

    However, note of caution:

    “SAARC declarations are divine, but the devil is in the detail,” said an Asian diplomat during the conference, adding that tensions between India and Pakistan had been the main obstacle to moving forward in any tangible manner