Interconnecting exchange (ICX) operators have been allowed to share lower amount of revenue with the government amid pressure from the operators.
The operators got the facility under the latest amendment to the ‘Regulatory and Guidelines for Invitation of Offers or Proposals for Issuing Licence for Establishing, Operating and Maintaining Interconnection Exchange (ICX) Services in Bangladesh’ that came into effect from January 4, this year.
BTRC at a recently held commission meeting endorsed the guidelines after receiving approval from the posts, telecommunications and information technology ministry in January on the draft.
ICX operators transfer both local and international calls from one mobile operator to other operators.
Under the new facility, ICX operators will now share 50 per cent of their gross revenue with the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission instead of existing 65.75 per cent.
Besides, the commission also revised the timeframe for depositing revenue sharing money to the BTRC.
ICX operators will get 60 days instead of existing 10 days to deposit revenue sharing money to the telecommunication regulator for a period of two months.
The ICX operators will have to pay revenue sharing money on bimonthly basis instead of the existing quarterly basis.
Under the amended guidelines, operators will also clear fees and charges including 15 per cent late fee within 30 days instead of 60 days after it becomes due.
BTRC came up with amendment following a proposal from the Association of ICX Operators of Bangladesh that was submitted on May 15, 2017.
In 2013, BTRC reduced annual licence fee for the ICX operators by 50 per cent, causing more than Tk 32 crore yearly revenue loss of the government.
Annual licence fee was reduced to Tk 1.25 crore from Tk 2.50 crore and the reduced annual fee came into effect from 2014.
In 2010, there were only three ICX operators in the country and the number increased to 26 by 2013 following a government decision to award ICX licences amid political pressure.
In 2008, the BTRC had
awarded four IGW, three ICX and two IIG licences.
The regulator had proposed at best 10 more licences, but the government awarded 25 IGW, 23 ICX and 34 IIG licences on political consideration making the market vulnerable.
The regulator in 2013 also slashed the annual licence fee for the IGW operators to Tk 3.75 crore from Tk 7.50.
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