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Bangladesh faces $22m loss due cut in international incoming call termination rate

Bangladesh faces $22m loss due cut in international incoming call termination rate

DHAKA: Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has demanded the Bangladesh government to reduce the call termination rate, claiming that the rate cut will increase more profit here the other day.

The government has lost around $22.43 million in last two and half months, after slashing the international incoming call termination rate and rearranging revenue sharing structure, according to BTRC statistics.

The government slashed the international incoming call termination rate to 1.5 cent per minute from 3 cent on September 18 for a six-month interim period following Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s approval.

The reduction of termination rate led to rise in total incoming calls through legal channels, but the government, mobile and landphone (ANS) operators kept incurring losses along with interconnection exchange operators while International Gateway (IGW) Operators were making more money.

In comparison with the last five months’ legal call numbers from July to November the Dhaka Tribune found the loss scenario.

Earlier, from revenue-sharing structure, BTRC got 51.75% which was reduced to 40%.

The new order helped increase IGW’s revenue share from 13.25% to 20%.

For ICX the revenue-share fixed at 17.5% from 15% and for ANS at 22.5% from 20%.

According to the statistics from July 1 to September 18, there were 4.65 billion minutes calls terminated through the legal channels, the market price of which was $139.5 million and the per-minute termination rate was 3 cent at that time.

From September 19 to the end of November, the total legal incoming calls increased more than 7.46 billion minutes while their market price came down to only $111.9 million at the rate of 1.5 cent.

According to the available statistics, BTRC earned $72.19 million in two and half months just before introduction of new termination rate, but after activation of the new rate and amendment to the revenue-sharing structure the earning came down to $44.76 million in next two and half months.

On an average BTRC had been earning between Tk1,800 crore to Tk1,900 crore every year over the last couple of years.

The telecom watchdog in its recommendation claimed that the earning would be Tk2,012.72 crore.

The regulator also presented a data calculation in its recommendation at that time, but now it refrains from making any comment on the loss issue.

Asked, BTRC Chairman Sunil Kanti Bose said their main plan was to establish a legal channel for call termination and in this case they are successful.

“We made report on earnings assumption. Though it did not work, we are optimistic that more calls will terminate through legal channel,” BTRC Secretary Md Sarwar Alam said, quoting Sunil.

“At the same time I can say establishing truth in this sector is also a success.”

Most incoming international calls lastly reach cellphone numbers, and according to the revenue-sharing structure, ANS operators are getting 22.5% of 1.5 cent for per minute call which was earlier 20% of 3 cent.

BTRC statistics said ANS operator’s earned $27.9 million in first two and half months and their revenues decreased in second half to $25.18 million despite increase in their share and total call volume.

Two top market leader operators – Grameenphone and Robi – have already expressed their concern that the new structure led to fall in their income.

Recently in the third quarter report declaration, Grameenphone’s then CEO Vivek Sood said: “It will affect them severely.”