BTCL urges ministry to scrap new int’l call termination rate

HM Murtuza | Published: 00:05, May 03,2018 | Updated: 23:02, May 02,2018

 
 

Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Limited has urged posts and telecommunications ministry to scrap a Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s latest directive on international call termination rate.
BTRC on February 22 increased international call termination rate thus allowing international gateway operators’ to share lower amount of revenue with the government.
As per the notice, IGW operators were allowed to bring international calls at 2.5 US cents (Tk 2 considering the exchange rate) per minute from 2 US cents per minute while operators were asked to share revenue with the government at 1.75 US cents (Tk 1.4) per minute.
The state-owned entity issued the letter as it found that the BTRC-set directive was impractical considering the declining volume of international calls through legal channel due to the rise of mobile application base phone calls, an official of BTCL told New Age on Monday.
BTCL, also an IGW operator, would face drastic fall in international calls along with revenue fall as the new ICTR would prompt illegal VoIP and mobile application-based calls, the official said.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in January this year reduced international call charge to Tk 0.38 per minute from Tk 0.67 per minute with a view to containing the app-based international phone calls and to encourage international calls through legal channel.
BTCL officials said that the fresh hike of international call charge by BTRC would encourage illegal termination of international calls along with sharp fall in phone calls over legal channel.
Alleging that the decision was made to facilitate the private carriers, they also said that the increased call rate were benefiting the private IGW operators and BTCL did not find anything positive about it but further fall of incoming international calls through legal channel.
International call termination through legal channels has declined to around 5.8 crore minutes per day from 6.7 crore a year ago.
The BTRC letter said that the increased international call rate was resulting in revenue loss for the state-owned entity.
BTCL in its letter to the ministry also sought exemption from sharing revenue with the BTRC at the rate of 40 per cent on international phone calls.
A BTRC move in March to cut its local and international call capacity by 30 per cent for the recovery of Tk 2,157 crore dues prompted BTCL to issue the letter.
Asked, posts, telecommunications and information technology minister Mustafa Jabbar told New Age, ‘We usually forward issues to BTRC which are within the preview of the telecom regulator and they make decision regarding the issue.’
He, however, said that there was no scope for special facility to any government entity where other operators were present.
BTCL, however, told the ministry that the operator incurred Tk 1,603 crore losses in 2008-20017 due to the retirement payment burden of its 13,000 employees over Tk 300 crore per year along with payment of salary of 11,000 existing employees.
BTCL also mentioned that the entity would need to pay several hundred crore taka in dues to international carriers along with dues worth Tk 282 crore to be paid to the BTRC against land. 

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