Govt revenue from int’l call to stagnate for 3 more years

Staff Correspondent | Published at 12:05am on September 01, 2018

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A file photo shows a man talking on his phone in Dhaka. The government revenue from incoming international calls will remain stagnant for three more years as the telecom regulatory body moves to keep its share unchanged at 40 per cent under pressure from politically-backed international gateway operators. — New Age photo

The government revenue from incoming international calls will remain stagnant for three more years as the telecom regulatory body moves to keep its share unchanged at 40 per cent under pressure from politically-backed international gateway operators.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission at a recently held meeting decided to get approval of its initiative from the posts and telecommunications ministry, a commission official told New Age.
Under the new initiative, IGW operators’ revenue from the international call termination would remain unchanged at 20 per cent, which was 13.25 per cent a few years ago.
The commission for the first time in September, 2014, lowered government’s share from international call revenue to 40 per cent from 51.75 per cent in a bid to facilitate politically-backed international gateway operators.
Since then, the commission has been extending the facility for them.
The government’ has kept IGW operators’ revenue sharing unchanged in the name of gradual decline in incoming international calls, BTRC officials said.
On the other hand, interconnecting exchanges and access network operators would get 17.5 per cent and 22.5 per cent revenue respectively from international call termination.
On February 22 this year, the telecom regulator for the last time fixed international call termination rate extending benefits for the IGW operators.
BTRC allowed the operators to bring international call within a range of 1.75-2.5 US cents per minute.
The entities, however, were asked to share revenue at 1.75 US cents, keeping government’s revenue sharing unchanged at 40 per cent.
The daily average incoming international calls through the legal channel declined by 20 per cent or 1.1 crore minutes in the past six months after the government increased the call termination rate in February this year.
The average international call termination through the legal channel declined to 4.3 crore minutes per day in July this year from 5.4 crore minutes per day in February this year.
In March last year, the telecom regulator finalised a proposal lowering international call termination rate to 1.5-1.60 US cents per minute from the then existing call rate of 2 US cents per minute.
The commission even refrained from getting approval from the government for enforcement amid pressure from the politically-backed IGW operators.
Besides the revenue sharing, the commission also approved gateway operation process of IoF, a forum of IGW operators, and network topology for a period of three years.