The telecom regulator considers allowing mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) with a view to injecting more competition into the cellular communication market.
An MVNO is a wireless communications services provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides services to its customers.
It enters into a business agreement with a mobile operator to obtain bulk access to network services at wholesale rates and then sets its own retail prices independently.
The MVNO may use its own customer service, billing support systems, marketing and sales personnel.
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission is now conducting a feasibility study on MNVOs in the country, said its Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood.
The move comes after the Prime Minister's ICT Affairs Adviser, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, directed the telecom regulator to take preparations for the introduction of MVNOs in Bangladesh.
Subsequently, the telecom regulator formed a committee to draft a guideline on it, said a senior BTRC official.
“After the study if we find that the MVNO would bring benefits to people, we must go for it,” Mahmood said, adding that such players are in operation across the globe.
MVNO agreements with network operators date back to the 1990s, when the European telecom market saw market liberalisation, new regulatory frameworks, better 2G network technology and a subsequent jump in wireless subscriber numbers. The global MVNO market is expected to reach a valuation of $75.2 billion by 2023, according to a market study.