Prime minister’s ICT adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy has asked the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to settle issue of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data charge of mobile network operators’ on mobile financial services as soon as possible.
Joy gave the instruction at a meeting held in the second week of December on setting the charges for USSD in presence of BTRC and Bangladesh Bank officials.
USSD allows a user to connect with the MFS operators’ server through mobile phone operators.
Mobile operators and MFS service providers were in loggerheads for last one year over whether USSD charge would be session-based or the MNOs would continue to get revenue sharing on commission.
Joy instructed BB officials to submit position paper against its proposal where the central bank suggested that the USSD charge per session of 90 seconds should be between Tk 0.21-Tk 0.31, an official of BTRC told New Age on Tuesday.
Mobile phone operators want session-based USSD pricing at Tk 1.50 for a session of 120 seconds. A MFS service provider said the existing system of revenue sharing should continue as such charge would increase the cost burden of subscribers for money transactions.
At present mobile phone operators gets seven per cent of total commission received from a user for financial transaction through mobile financial services.
The ICT adviser in principle agreed to set USSD session-based charges of the MNOs on MFS, the BTRC official said.
Mobile phone operators were demanding USSD-based charges, claiming they do not get fair pricing through the current revenue sharing-based model.
In November this year, the commission, however, based on consultation with Bangladesh Bank, mobile network operators, mobile financial service
providers and Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh had proposed that the charge of the mobile phone operators per session USSD should be Tk 0.85 including two SMS.
The BTRC official said that the commission after getting the position paper of BB in this regard will assess the proposal before forwarding it to the telecom ministry for further consideration.
The issue of USSD session based charge of mobile phone operators was also discussed at the coordination meeting among financial market regulators held on August 1 this year.
BB raised the issue following allegations from some MFS providing banks that the rates for USSD and SMS of the mobile phone operators were high.
From 25 banks given permission by BB to operate MFS, 18 were in operation.
Total number of registered customers of the MFS providers was 3.62 crore at the end of June 30, 2016.
According to a BTRC paper, bkash and Rocket operates 99 per cent of the country’s total MFS.
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