Mobile phone operators should come up with more investment as the government is ready to provide them with all types of support, Telecom Minister Abdul Latif Siddique said yesterday.
The minister spoke at the opening session of a workshop organised by Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) in partnership with Global System for Mobile Communication Association.
The minister said the operators have so far invested around Tk 50,000 crore in the country, and called for further investment in the sector.
He also asked the operators to go for 'self-regulation' as there is scope to misuse information technology.
He said mobile telecommunication has emerged as an inevitable sector without which no development can take place.
The workshop aimed at triggering discussions on telecom policy and regulatory challenges and a broader role of the telecom sector in the economic development of the country.
Top officials of the telecom ministry, regulatory body and telecom operators and international analysts participated in the workshop at Sonargaon Hotel in the city.
Sunil Kanti Bose, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, said consumers do not trust the mobile operators as they do not get required support from them.
He also said, when consumers go to the operators with their problems, they do not want to take responsibilities though the problems could have been solved by the operators.
Grameenphone's Chief Executive Officer Vivek Sood said mobile financial services are spreading fast and the mobile operators should be appreciated for that.
“There are talks whether mobile financial services should be a bank-led model or a telco-led one. This service uses our network and that should be recognised,” he said.
Banglalink CEO and AMTOB Chairman Ziad Shatara said taxation in the telecom industry needs to be more investor-friendly in order to take the country to the next level of technological development.
He said coordination among different regulatory agencies will help the telecom operators and the industry.
Irene Ng, Asia regional head of GSMA, said the mobile industry has already contributed a lot to economic and social development in Bangladesh.
Reforming the legislative and policy framework in Bangladesh is a key component of what needs to happen, he said.
"In particular, we look forward to the 1998 national telecoms policy to be updated to keep up with changing technology and for mobile-enabled solutions in the areas of health, education and financial inclusion so that the vision of 'Digital Bangladesh' can truly be met.”
AMTOB Secretary General TIM Nurul Kabir said Bangladesh has one of the worst tax regimes in the world for the telecom industry.