Steps have been taken by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to create new openings for IP and PSTN phone operators with the help of a package called ‘differential baseline tariff’.
Under the recently created package, the regulator has managed to reduce interconnection fees for making telephone calls to mobile phone networks from IP or PSTN.
IP and PSTN operators will only pay Tk0.06 a minute during the upcoming fiscal year. Simultaneously, they will be charged the same fee for each minute of calls received, effective from the first of July.
The interconnection fee is Tk0.18 a minute, currently. However, in 2014, it will drop to Tk0.09 and Tk0.12 for 2015 before rising to Tk0.15 a year later for mobile phone operators, said a BTRC directive.
With almost 90 per cent of calls coming from IP telephony and PSTN service operators going to mobiles, operators will save on interconnection fees, say industry insiders.
RanksTel chief operating officer, AKM Shamsuddin, told the Dhaka Tribune:
“It is an opportunity for operators like us, who have nominal subscribers.
“Out of our total calls, 90% is outgoing to mobiles. So, it creates opportunities for us to reduce our costs, and subsequently, we can reduce our call rates.”
However, owner of IP phone operator BDcom Online Ltd, Sumon Ahmed Sabir, holds an opposing view. Sabir, who also holds a similar position at Internet Service Providers Association Bangladesh, said:
“This decision may create opportunities for small operators to flourish. But operators who get lots of incoming calls, like us, we may lose out.”
Furthermore, mobile phone operators are less than happy with regards to the BTRC directive, with the possibility of losing money over incoming interconnection fees. There is a chance that they will write to the commission asking for the directive to be reviewed, sources said.