UNIFORM CALL RATE

Bangladesh mobile users turn thrifty to avoid bill shock

HM Murtuza | Published: 00:05, Oct 08,2018 | Updated: 19:44, Oct 09,2018

 
 

Mobile phone users have reduced volume of calls following implementation of the hiked uniform call rate in August 14 this year to avoid bill shock, a study of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission revealed.
Mobile phone operators, however, have said that they have witnessed an increase in revenue from voice calls after implementation of the rate despite the decline in call volume.
As per the BTRC study, that covered two weeks before and after implementation of the rate, found that daily average call, including on-net and off-net, declined by 6.03 per cent or 4.8 crore minutes from what it was before the rate.
Following the new rate, daily average call volume of the mobile phone users declined to 74.8 crore minutes from 79.6 crore minutes, the BTRC statistics show.
A high official of the commission told New Age last week that the mobile phone subscribers reduced their call volume perhaps to keep the bills within their limit.
Asked about the rationale behind setting floor price of uniform call rate at Tk 0.45 ignoring comfort of around 80 per cent on-net callers, BTRC acting chairman Md Jahurul Haque at a recent press briefing argued that call cost, when in some cases went up, in many cases it fell.
Before the uniform floor price, on-net and off-net call rates were Tk 0.25 and Tk 0.60 respectively.
‘We have conducted a thorough study before the new rate was introduced and implemented it for the betterment of all,’ he said.
At the press briefing, BTRC director general Brigadier General (spectrum management) Md Nasim Parvez said that the uniform rate would allow customers to choose mobile network operator based on their service quality instead of thinking about their relatives’ or friends’ operators to get tariff advantage.
He also said that the new tariff system would also help reduce dominance of large operators and allow small operators to get customers based on service quality.
The study of the commission also shows that on-net call volume declined by 10.97 per cent or 7 crore minutes per day to 56.8 crore minutes from 63.8 crore minutes.
On the other hand, average off-net calls volume, which was 20 per cent of the total phone calls, has increased by 13.92 per cent or 2.2 crore minutes to 18 crore minutes from 15.8 crore minutes per day.
The ratio of on-net and off-net call volume was 80:20 before the implementation of the new rate and it turned to 76:24 after the new rate.
Another estimation of the commission, conducted before setting floor price of new uniform call rate at Tk 0.45 per minute, has showed that the three mobile phone operators — Grameenphone, Robi and Banglalink — would earn additional Tk 387 crore due to the implementation of new rate.
Although the mobile phone operators have admitted the increase in revenue after the new rate implementation, they declined to mention the exact figures of the increased revenue.

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