Thursday, April 25, 2024

ICT sector stakeholders want VAS guideline implemented

Entrepreneurs and stakeholders of Information and Communication Technology sector on Wednesday asked the government to immediately implement the telecom regulator’s
draft guideline on value added service of the telecom operators.
The telecommunication ministry, following opposition from the mobile phone operators, on September 13 decided not to approve the Bangladesh Telecommunication
Regulatory Commission’s draft VAS guideline that would have protected the interest of application developers.
‘We want immediate implementation of the VAS guideline. If proper and necessary policy is formulated and implemented, a market of Tk 5,000 crore could be created in
the local telecommunication-based content and application industry,’ said Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services president Fahim Mashroor at a
press conference.
When his attention was drawn that the telecommunication ministry had ditched the BTRC’s draft guideline, Fahim said that they had heard about it but they were not
informed by the ministry about its decision.
‘We came to know that the ministry had suggested that a committee should be formed to review the draft VAS guideline. So, we are still hopeful that the guideline will
be approved and implemented,’ he said.
According to the draft VAS guideline, a licence would be needed for mobile phone applications and the content providers would set the price of VAS to be provided
through mobile operators’ network.
The guideline wanted to ensure that the content providers get due revenue sharing from the mobile operators for VAS including missed call alerts, call block, voice
mail, music and ring tone downloads.
As currently mobile operators pay a meager amount to local developers, the operators stood against the VAS guideline, said telecom ministry officials.
Fahim told reporters that the government’s plan to launch 3G service by mobile operators would not be viable unless local application and content service industry is
developed because 3G service is based on mobile content service.
The press briefing on ‘Roadmap of development of telecom network based local application and content service industry’ was jointly organied by Bangladesh Computer
Samity, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services, Internet Service Providers’ Association of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Association of Call Centres and
Outsourcing, Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association and Content Providers and Aggregators Association of Bangladesh at the National Press Club in the city.
BCS member Mustafa Jabbar said the telecom companies created monopoly in that industry and that is why content providers were being deprived.
‘Bangladeshi youths have developed smart phone applications abroad, but they were being deprived of working in their homeland’, he said.
Fahim said that there was no business-friendly environment in the country for the development of local telecom-based application and content industry as there was
unfair revenue sharing and entry barrier.
‘The size of telecom industry is now worth Tk 25,000 crore and but only 2 per cent of that comes from content and application sector. There is possibility to increase
the market of the application and content to Tk 5,000 crore within three years and that will create job opportunity for around one lakh people,’ he added.
BCS president Faizullah Khan, CPAAB president Saiful Islam, BMPIA president Rafiqul Islam, BACCO president Ahmudul Haq and ISPAB president Akhtaruzzaman Manju also
spoke.

-With New Age input

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