The South Asian Telecommunication Regulators Council (SATRC) was recently held in Pakistan and was attended by all Member States of the Region under the umbrella of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT).
The Council Meeting was held from the 13th to the 15th of December. The meeting consisted of a Regulator Roundtable, industry-regulator dialogue and industry sessions where national and international speakers shared their best practices and experience. Overall, there were representatives from 9 countries from Asia Pacific Region, i.e. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
The aim and goal of the meeting was to enhance cooperation between regulators and industry to work towards a harmonized regulatory environment. SATRC also addressed some of the major issues such as the Evolution of Regulatory Framework in South Asia and Asia-Pacific, National ICT policy and Regulator’s role and its challenges, along with topics such as ensuring the last mile access for providing affordable broadband services for all, regulatory measures to enhance broadband experiences, enhanced consumer protection in digital economy, consideration of the regulatory framework for IoT including spectrum management for the development of IoT, Spectrum roadmap for future mobile broadband.
At the meeting, the Chairman SATRC Mr. Digambar Jha, Chairman of Nepal Regulatory Authority proposed Mr. Muhammad Naveed, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to be the next Chairman of SATRC. The Chairman of SATRC was unanimously elected at the 19th Meeting of the SATRC in Islamabad. Mr. Chencho Dorji, Director General of Bhutan Regulatory Authority was elected as the Vice Chairman of SATRC-19 who also proposed to hold the SATRC-20 in Bhutan in 2019.
Ms. Areewan Haorangsi, Secretary General, Asia-Pacific Telecommunity speaking at the meeting said that deliberations through such meetings are helpful to provide international experiences with a focus on current issues and challenges faced by Asia Pacific Countries. Furthermore, she also congratulated Mr. Muhammad Naveed Chairman PTA, for being elected as Chairman SATRC.
Chairman PTA Mr. Muhammad Naveed speaking on the occasion said that SATRC has already done some outstanding work and will be continued by Pakistan. He also vowed to carry on this cooperation and engagement among the regulators in the best possible manner. According to him the telecom regulators of the region have some big challenges and opportunities ahead of them.
He further added that, “Considering the fact that we have such a vast human capital, the need is to channelize our efforts towards embracing the future technologies amicably. The benefits of ICT driven economic growth must be passed on to the common man and we, as regulators, have a central role to play in this regard. A friendly regulatory environment will not only improve the confidence of the investors in our region but also generate new economic opportunities for the population of the SATRC Region.”
The sessions were moderated by Mr. Mudassar Hussain Member Telecom Ministry of IT, Mr. Ilyas Ahmed CEO Communications Authority of Maldives, and Mr. Dr. Mohammad N Azizi, Chairman Afghanistan Telecommunication Regulatory Authority.