Bangladesh Bank will request the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to take initiative to set a logical price of unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) and short message service (SMS) for facilitating banks’ mobile financial services.
The central bank will place the recommendations at the coming coordination meeting, which will be held on August 1 at the BB headquarters in the capital, among the financial market regulators.
A BB official told New Age on Monday that some banks had recently submitted allegations before the central bank that the using cost of USSD and SMS set by mobile network operators (MNOs) was high considering their earnings through operating the MFS.
The banks are using the USSD to transfer the MFS related transaction data to clients.
According to a central bank report, the MNOs earlier made agreements with the banks fixing different rates on the use of the USSD which created an impediment to make a competitive market of the MFS.
The high rate on the USSD made a big embargo for the banks which are taking preparation to enter the MFS market.
Such rate is also expensive for the banks which are now providing the MFS to the clients.
The report said that Grameenphone Ltd had recently canceled an agreement with bKash, a subsidiary company of BRAC Bank that provides MFS, and set a higher charge for per SMS than that of the previous rate.
The MNO cancelled the bundle price rate with bKash and set Tk 0.20 for per SMS.
bKash informed the central bank that such higher rate might put an adverse impact on the client-level.
Other MNOs will encourage increasing the price rate of SMS if Grameenphone continued to maintain the rate which will squeeze the country’s MFS market, according to the central bank report.
The Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh earlier submitted a proposal to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission urging it to raise the USSD charges for MSF claiming 86 per cent of USSD traffic and 100 per cent of SMS are free of charge.
The telecom operators said they faced huge pressure on their networks, especially at peak hours, due to an increased volume of free texts and crores of USSD sessions from the MFS providers.
In a separate agenda of the coordination meeting, Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission will request the central bank to allow the banks to show their investment in the corporate bond as statutory liquidity ratio (SLR).
The banks are now allowed to keep their SLR only as the investing amount of Treasury bills and bonds.
The BSEC in its agenda said the financial regulators should work jointly to promote the country’s bond market as only three corporate bonds have been issued till date.
The volume of the bond market will expand significantly if the banks are allowed to show their investment in the corporate bonds as SLR.
The representatives of the BB, BSEC, Insurance Development Regulatory Authority, Microcredit Regulatory Authority, Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms and BTRC will attend the coordination meeting.
BB governor Fazle Kabir will preside over the meeting.
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