Govt extends reduced rates for IGWs by 3 months

March 26, 2015

INT’L Call Termination
Govt extends reduced rates for IGWs by 3 months
The post and telecommunication ministry on Wednesday approved a three-month extension of the reduced international call termination and revenue sharing rates for IGW operators until June 30. Ministry officials said prime minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also in charge of the telecom ministry, has approved the extension of the reduced rates which were introduced in September last year for six months.
The reduced rates of 1.5 US cents from earlier 3 cents for termination of each international call and cut in revenue sharing already caused a revenue loss of around Tk 265 crore for the government in five months.
Along with the call rate cut, the BTRC also lowered international gateway operators’ revenue sharing with the government to 40 per cent from 51.75 per cent.
‘The extension was granted following BTRC proposal. The BTRC wanted to do some more analysis of the effect of the rate cut and it needed time,’ telecom ministry additional secretary Firoz Salahuddin told New Age on Wednesday.
The BTRC on 16 March issued the extension order in this regard before getting government approval as the test period of reduced rates was scheduled to end on 17 March.
Ministry officials said a proposal of setting the higher limit for international call termination at US 2 cents is under government consideration.
‘We are considering a proposal of setting 2 cents as the upper limit of international call termination rate. The issue is currently pending with the finance ministry,’ a senior ministry official said.
According to BTRC officials, the average call volume has increased to 106 million minutes per day in September-February period compared to 55 million minutes in the previous five months.
The revenue from IGW operators came down to around Tk 725 crore in September-February period from that of Tk 990 crore in the previous five months, they said.
According to a initial projection of BTRC in July 2013, through the rate cut and lower revenue sharing the government would lose Tk 1,074 crore annually.
BTRC officials said the move of reduced call rate was introduced mainly to facilitate some IGW operators as some ruling Awami League politicians are closely involved with the business.

-Input from New Age

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