Dhaka, Bangladesh
BTRC revises international call termination rates

BTRC revises international call termination rates

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) have revised international incoming call termination rates, reports bdnews24.com. The minimum rate has been re-fixed at $0.0175 and maximum at $0.0250, according to a letter sent the telecom regulators sent to the mobile phone, IGW and ICX operators on Thursday. It said the new rates go into effect immediately. The minimum international incoming call termination rate was $0.015 and maximum $0.035 until now. The BTRC letter says state-owned BTCL and all other International Gateway or IGW operators will terminate international calls at maximum rates within the fixed rates. Otherwise, the letter says, it will be considered as a move to bring fewer foreign currencies to the country and the BTRC will take help from the Bangladesh Bank. The mobile-phone operators say the revision of the rates has created more opportunity for the IGW operators to increase their profits. They also fear this will reduce the number of international calls and increase calls made on over-the-top (OTT) apps like Viber and WhatsApp. BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood, however, told the news agency, "It (revision) is kind of an experiment. BTRC can revise the rates anytime it wants." The IGW operators were getting $0.005 extra from every international call after the IGW Operators' Forum raised the rate to $0.02 in 2015. The government, Interconnection Exchange or ICX operators and mobile-phone operators were getting their share as per the $0.015 rate. The government in a report last year said number of daily calls dropped from 110 million to 75 million, causing nearly Tk 20 million in lost revenues. Currently, the BTRC gets 40 percent of the revenue from international call termination, IGW operators 20 percent, ICX operators 17.5 percent ANS receive 22.5 percent. Several top officials of mobile-phone operators, requesting anonymity, told bdnews24.com it may appear from the revision that their and ICX operators' shares in revenue will rise, but that is not case. They say the IGW operators will now hike the incoming call termination rate to $0.025, which will hit the number of calls and amount of revenue.

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