The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission on Wednesday allowed 1,000 companies to provide Voice over Internet Protocol service for the first time in the country.
The companies were awarded VoIP Service Provider licence with a fee of Tk 5 lakh each which the companies were asked to deposit within next 30 days.
The telecom regulators sent 1,004 applications to the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications on January 1 after short-listing from 1,400 applications.
The BTRC, however, extended the application deadline once.
According to BTRC officials, currently the country records around 4 crore minutes of international call everyday of which 1 crore minutes are routed illegally.
The government receives three cents from an international incoming call.
BTRC officials said hundreds of individual, small cartels and companies are involved in illegal VoIP business across the country which causes a huge loss to government revenue.
In many cases these illegal VoIP service providers have political connections and also government officials concerned were involved in such business, they said.
The BTRC in September 2012 fined six mobile phone companies Tk 6.29 crore for selling unregistered SIM cards which was used for illegal call transmission.
Airtel Bangladesh was fined the highest amount of fine of Tk 2.55 crore, followed by Banglalink which was fined Tk 1.59 crore.
Grameenphone was fined Tk 1.07 crore, Robi Tk 53.99 lakh, Teletalk 46.36 lakh and Citycell 6.55 lakh.
In the same month, BTRC seized 1,285 unregistered SIM cards of four telecom companies which were used for illegal VoIP service.
Among the total, 811 was of Banglalink, 368 of TeleTalk, 65 of Airtel and 47 of Robi.
The BTRC also decided to impose $50 as fine on telecom companies for each unregistered SIM cards or RUIM cards without proper registration from October 12.
-With New Age input