ICTR lowering proposal stuck at BTRC

IGW operators create pressure to increase rate

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:54, Jun 18,2017 | Updated: 00:05, Jun 19,2017

 
 

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission is yet to send a proposal on lowering international call termination rate to the posts and telecommunications ministry even after more than two-and-a-half months of finalising the proposal.
The telecommunication regulator in March this year finalised a proposal in this regard.
Although the commission had decided to forward the proposal to the posts and telecommunication ministry, the proposal remained stuck up at the commission for more than two-and-a-half months, said a senior BTRC official.
As the international call termination rate remained high at 2 US cents, the international incoming calls were on the decline as well.
Daily average incoming international call minutes have declined to around 6.30 crore minutes per day in June this year from around 6.50 crore minutes a couple of months ago.
A reduced international call termination rate could help in increasing international incoming calls and government’s earnings as well.
Sources said that the commission in the recent times again decided to reconstruct the committee with a view to prepare fresh proposals on the same issue.
The telecommunication regulatory commission initiated the move following pressure from Awami League-backed businesspeople to refrain BTRC from implementation of the reduced call rate, sources said.
The committee was formed on December 5, 2016 following a directive from the posts and telecommunications ministry that asked the BTRC to review the ICTR and come up with fresh proposal about rates considering the market situation.
A 13-member committee led by BTRC vice-chairman Md Ahsan Habib Khan had proposed that the international call termination rate for the international gateway operators should be reduced to 1.50-1.60 US cents from the existing 2 US cents to increase incoming international call.
As per the committee proposal, IGW operators were supposed to share 43 per cent of their revenue that would be generated through international call termination with the government instead of the existing 40 per cent, which was 51.75 per cent earlier.
IGW operators have been sharing revenue with the government at the reduced rate since September 2014 when the ICTR was cut to 1.5 US cents from 3 US cents in a bid to facilitate politically-backed IGW operators.
According to BTRC data, in the first five months after the introduction of the test call rates in 2014 the government suffered Tk 250 crore in revenue losses.
Although the IGW operators in September 2015 increased ICTR to 2 US cents, they share revenue with the government at the rate of 1.50 US cents.
The committee also proposed that the revenue sharing of the IGW operators, interconnection exchange operators and mobile operators or excess network services should be 18 per cent, 17.50 per cent and 21.50 per cent respectively.
The committee also found that the government’s daily earnings from the ICTR would also increase to Tk 5.35 crore from Tk 4.11 crore. 

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