Rate Cut For Igws
BTRC to submit same plan to fin min for 3rd time
Even after the finance ministry rejected twice, the telecom regulator is set to send the same proposal again to lower international call termination charges to 1.5 US cents from the existing 3 cents for the operators, ignoring the ministry suggestion for a baseline study. The ministry last week rejected the BTRC proposal for the second time for lowering the call charge for the international gateway operators and reducing the government revenue sharing to 40 per cent from the existing 51.75 per cent.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission officials said the finance ministry had asked the BTRC to send a comprehensive report after conducting a baseline study considering the impact on stakeholders.
‘Our previous proposal covered position of all the stakeholders except VSP operators. This time we have prepared a proposal including the impact of rate cut on VSP operators,’ a senior BTRC official told New Age on Sunday.
He said nothing else will be changed in the previous proposal but with this inclusion the proposal will be a comprehensive one.
He said that the proposal will be sent again to the finance ministry within this week.
The BTRC took the move in July last by sending a proposal to the telecom ministry apparently to give benefits to the new IGW operators who got licences on political backing.
The BTRC in the proposal admitted that the proposed plan would slash the government revenue to Tk 777 crore from Tk 1,851 crore – the government’s annual income from IGW and ICX operators in 2012 for an average of 35 million calls per day.
After the finance ministry rejected the proposal in March 2014, the BTRC sent a second proposal twisting the first proposal, said sources in the telecom ministry.
This time, the regulator said that the government revenue after the tariff cut would be Tk 1,778 crore considering total international call at 80 million
minutes per day instead of 35 million minutes per day, they said.
‘We hope if the tariff cut comes into effect then it will stop illegal call termination and the average call per day will increase to 80 million minutes,’ said the second proposal of BTRC.
BTRC’s projected calculation, however, would also cause a government loss of Tk 73 crore.
The BTRC second proposal also said the government should approve the proposal on a test basis for one year period.
The proposal said the market turned dull because too many IGW licences had been issued and lowering the rates would make new IGWs sustainable.
Only four companies were given licences through an auction when IGW service was introduced in Bangladesh in 2008.
The Awami League-led government in 2012 awarded 25 more licences – mostly to people linked to the ruling party.
The regulator had proposed at best 10 more licences, but the government awarded 25 IGW and 23 ICX licences.
The BTRC is already facing trouble to realise the revenue share form the IGW operators because of their strong political links.
The telecom regulator has also initiated legal proceedings to realise the dues from the IGW operators.
-With New Age input