Tuesday, September 13, 2005 - Bangladesh Telecom

BTRC appoints PwC to conduct study on mobile phone tariff

The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a United States-based multinational consultants firm to conduct a study on determining the actual call cost of the mobile phone operators in the country.

'The study will determine the actual call cost of a mobile phone operator to enable the commission regulate call rates as well as help formulate a tariff guideline for the mobile operators,' said an official of the telecom regulatory commission.

Commission officials said that the consultants firm will begin its work at the end of the current month and complete the study by ten months at a fee of $1.5 lakh.

According to the official, the study, financed by the World Bank, would suggest an 'allowable level of profit' on top of the break- even plateau.

'Once the study is done, the commission will be able put its fingers on the precise operating cost of each call and hence determine the reasonable tariff,' said an official of the commission.

The official said that the commission had been working on tariff reforms in the interest of the consumers as there 'is allegation that mobile operators have been charging much higher rate compared to other regional markets, including India and Pakistan'.

The commission officials, however, said that the commission believed in an open-market philosophy and encouraged competition so that the rates were both business- and consumer- friendly.

'The market will determine the call charge,' said a top commission official. According to the private mobile phone operators, intense competition has already brought down the call charge to around 35 per cent over the years.

Currently, there are over 60 lakh mobile subscriptions, provided by five operators, namely, GrameenPhone, Aktel, CityCell, Banglalink and the state owned operator Teletalk.

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