Tuesday, April 18, 2006 - Bangladesh Telecom

BTTB to implement new rate without agreement with mobile operators

Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board is going to implement the Tk 1.5 per minute call charge from April 19 for calls to any mobile phones without signing a revised revenue sharing agreement with the mobile operators.

The telephone board when submitting its proposal to the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission on January 30 cited that the board would shortly sign a new minute-based revenue sharing agreement with the mobile operators, under which, the board has to pay interconnection charge to operators for sending calls in their networks.

The board has to subsidise its outgoing calls to mobile phones, if the new rate does not come into effect, said the proposal.
That was the major reason for increasing the call charges to mobile phones according to the board.

The regulatory commission on Thursday night approved the proposal to charge per minute instead of the present 5-minute peak and 8-to-10-minute off-peak chunks for Tk 1.5.

Sources in the telephone board said as there is no new revenue sharing agreement between telephone board and the private mobile operators till date, the board’s decision to implement the new rate from Wednesday would be tantamount to cheating its 11 lakh subscribers who would have to pay 400 per cent more than the current charge.

'The telephone board is simply cheating its customers by charging for a service which has not yet to come into effect,' said a top official of the state owned telephone board.

Earlier in March, the telephone board sent separate proposals to four private mobile phone operators to sign the revised revenue sharing agreement but they refused to do so due to discrimination in the termination charge.

In the proposal, the board said it would pay Tk 0.30 per minute to the mobile operators while terminating its calls in their network.
On the other hand the telephone board would charge Tk 0.70 for terminating mobile operator’s calls in its network.

But the operators rejected the board’s proposal terming it discriminatory and later requested the regulatory commission’s intervention.

'The termination charge is discriminatory and unacceptable,' said a top official of a leading operator.

He said all the operators signed interconnection agreements among them and with private land phone operators. These agreements, he said were symmetrical and the private operators charge Tk 0.90 per minute for peak hours and Tk 0.50 for off peak hours as interconnection charge.

On the other hand, the telephone board refused the operators’ demand to share 15 per cent of its revenue generated from international calls. Under the existing agreement signed in 1998, private mobile operators pay interconnection fees while accessing the BTTB network whereas the telephone board pays nothing while terminating its traffic to the mobile operator’s network. The state-owned land phone operator however, has a revenue sharing agreement with the state-run mobile phone operator Teletalk Bangladesh.

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