Thursday, March 16, 2006 - Bangladesh Telecom

Flat call charge for 15 more countries okayed

** New rate to come into effect by a week

The finance ministry has approved a Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board proposal for extension of flat international call rate of Tk 7.5 per minute to 15 more countries.
The board officials on Wednesday said the new rate was likely to be introduced by a week on completion of necessary formalities. The flat rate is currently available for 10 countries.
Sources in the finance ministry said the finance and planning minister, M Saifur Rahman, had approved the economy overseas call rate on March 9, and the decision was notified to the post and telecommunications ministry on Monday.
The state-owned land phone operator in January placed a proposal to the telecom ministry for introduction of the flat rate for making calls to China, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Brunei, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Ireland, Spain, Greece and Austria. The telecom ministry later forwarded the proposal to the finance ministry.
The board currently charges Tk 24 and Tk 18 per minute respectively during the peak and off-peak hours for making calls to China, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Brunei, and Tk 27 and Tk 21 per minute respectively during the peak and off-peak hours for the rest of the proposed countries.

Excluding China, South Korea, Thailand and Brunei, the board, however, proposed Tk 18 as charge per minute for making calls to the mobile phones of the remaining 11 countries.

Earlier, on December 30, 2003, the board first introduced the flat rate of Tk 7.5 per minute for making calls to ten countries: the United States, Canada, England, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The board subscribers having ISD (international subscriber’s dialling) and NWD (nation-wide dialling) telephones will enjoy the reduced tariff.

The NWD telephone users will be able to make ISD calls at the reduced rate through direct dialling by using a new code ‘012’, said a board engineer adding that one can also make calls to those countries by using the existing ‘00’ code.

The board plans to expand the economy rate ISD call facilities to more countries as it loses crores of revenue from international calls due to illegal internet telephony, which is also referred to as Voice over Internet Protocol, officials said.

Besides, the board got a very positive response after introducing the flat rate to 10 countries and revenue from calls to those countries rose sharply, they added.

According to the board statistics, the board, before the introduction of economy ISD rate, on an average would earn about Tk 8.27 crore a month from the 10 countries, but the revenue earning rose to about Tk 9.4 crore after the introduction of the flat rate.

'The reduced rate will help the board to regain some of its lost revenue as around 40 per cent of its revenue comes from overseas calls,' said a top official.

According to a study of the board, the government loses around Tk 1,000 crore each year because of the internet telephony.


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