Saturday, June 22, 2024

Regulator hands over 72 telecom gateway licences

The telecom regulator yesterday handed over 72 new gateway licences to different firms in three categories. The government has decided to give 82 such licences, while 78 companies have so far deposited licence fees.
Zia Ahmed, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, said he handed over 22 international gateway (IGW) licences, 21 interconnection exchange (ICX) licences and 29 international internet gateway (IIG) licences.
IGWs transfer international calls, while ICXs connect operators. IIGs provide internet bandwidth to internet service providers and telecom operators.
The telecom regulator has received a total of Tk 424 crore from the 78 companies as licence fees, said the chairman.
The IGW companies deposited Tk 15 crore each, while ICX Tk 5 crore and IIGs Tk 5 lakh each as licence fees.
Earlier, the regulator requested the telecom ministry to reconsider issuing too many licences, saying an overcrowded sector will encourage companies to earn money through illegal ways, and damage competitiveness.
But the ministry did not curtail the number of licences.
However, Ahmed said: “We have already identified some of the problems after studying the situation.”
As a solution to the problems, he said the IGW and ICX companies will share a common platform, while the telecom operators and the ICX firms will have another such platform.
“If we can ensure a balance among the international calls and allocate the calls among the gateways in a proper way then there will be no problems.”
If all the calls come through legal ways, enough calls will transfer through the gateways, Ahmed said, adding that it will help the companies survive.
Around 40 percent to 50 percent calls come to the country through illegal channels, according to insiders.
“We will sit with all the new and old companies to see what kinds of problems they would face,” said Ahmed.
The companies will have to start operations by the next six months.
In October last year, the regulator published an advertisement inviting applications from interested organisations for the licences. A total of 153 applications were submitted.
However, the insiders said a number of companies are trying to sell their licences due to a lack of experience in the business and fearing losses.

With The Daily Star input

 

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