Int’l calls dip in absence of measures to check illegal calls

HM Murtuza | Published: 00:05, Mar 10,2018

 
 

The volume of incoming international calls dropped further by 30 lakh minutes a day in February this year from that in November, 2017 due to lack of effective measures to contain illegal calls and growing number of mobile application-based phone calls.
According to a latest data of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, the average incoming international call was 5.8 crore minutes a day in November last year, which declined to 5.5 crore minutes a day in February this year.
Another BTRC statistics showed that incoming international call termination was 6.1 crore minutes a day in August last year while the figure was 8 crore minutes a day in January, 2016.
The number of incoming international calls has been dropping rapidly, resulting in heavy revenue losses for the government, a number of BTRC officials said.
Lack of effective regulatory move to contain the illegal international calls has remained a cause of the rapid fall, they said.
Besides, high international call termination rate – paid by international operators to local networks that receive calls — in Bangladesh has been working as an incentive behind the illegal international call termination, resulting in lower number of incoming international calls through the legal channel, they said.
To check the grey market for overseas incoming calls, Indian telecom regulator in January this year slashed international termination charge by 43 per cent to Rs 0.30 a minute from Rs 0.53 a minute.
On the contrary, in a surprising move the telecom regulator in Bangladesh has increased international call termination rate to 2.5 US cents from 1.5 US cents.
In addition to that, the BTRC also allowed international gateway operators to share revenue with the government at 1.75 US cents without showing any reason. The move has legalised the unethical practice of the IGW operators to share revenue with the government at lower rate, BTRC officials said.
IGW operators since September 2015 has been sharing international call termination revenue with the government at the rate of 1.5 US cents despite the fact that they were bringing calls at 2 US cents.
BTRC officials also said that the international calls might fall further as the increased price of incoming international calls would work as an incentive for the people or businesses that bring international calls illegally in Bangladesh.
Earlier, in 2017, the telecom regulator initiated a move to lower incoming international call rate to 1.5-1.6 US cents but failed to do so amid pressure from the politically influential IGW operators. 

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