Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has set a fresh rate for international call termination thus legalising international gateway operators’ ‘unethical practice’ of sharing lower amount of revenue with the government, said officials.
The telecom regulator issued a fresh notice in this regard on Thursday last week, re-setting international call termination rate.
As per the notice, IGW operators would be allowed to bring international calls within a range of 1.75-2.50 US cents per minute.
The notice, however, said that the IGW operators would bring calls at highest rate, 2.5 US cents, set by the commission and the IGW operators would share revenue with the government at the lowest rate, 1.75 US cents per minute.
A number of officials of the commission said that latest instruction of the commission would just increase IGW operators’ earnings from incoming international calls that has been on the decline for last couple of years and would hardly bring any positive change especially toward increasing incoming international calls.
In March last year, the telecom regulator had finalised a proposal lowering international call termination rate to 1.5-1.60 US cents per minute from existing call rate of 2 US cents per minute.
The commission, however, refrained from getting approval from the government for enforcement amid pressure from the
politically-backed IGW operators.
In September 2014, government reduced the rate to US 1.5 cents from US 3 cents in a bid to facilitate politically-backed IGW operators, reasoning that this step would increase international call termination through legal channel.
Although the government instruction of 2014 became void in September 2015, the IGW operators share revenue with the government at the rate of 1.5 US cents despite the fact that they are bringing international calls at the rate of 2 US cents per minute.
The telecom regulator had planned to reduce the call rates to encourage international call termination through legal channels.
International call termination through legal channels has declined to 5.8 crore minutes per day from 6.7 crore a year ago mainly due to international call termination through illegal channel and for rapid growth of international calls through mobile-based applications.
At present, IGW operators share 40 per cent of the revenue of international call termination with the government.
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