Other than calling and sending text messages, the mobile phone operators offer series of services like downloading of music, ringtone, wallpaper and many others. These are generally known as VAS and being offered as optional services.
Now the government has proposed to categorise VAS as a separate suite of service and bring it under a licensingregime in Bangladesh. If implemented, the mobile operators will have to outsource all value added services and discontinue offering any in-house product.
“There is no international precedent for this,” wrote Rohan Samarajiva, the chairman and CEO of LIRNEasia in his response to the public consultation. “This proposal is harmful to the achievement of Digital Bangladesh objectives and should be withdrawn.”
The Daily Star has also reported on the comments.
Samarajiva, former head of Sri Lanka’s telecom regulator, was also a policy adviser to the telecoms ministry in Bangladesh. “There is no rationale for VAS licensing that would be supported by present knowledge on ICT policy and regulation,” Samarajiva said.
“Licences are rarely issued at this granular level,” he remarked adding that at most, they would be “class licences” that would impose certain minimal obligations and enable the regulator to contact the VAS provider if necessary.