Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has revised its voice tariff rate for short-code calls and set it at Tk1 from earlier Tk 2, aiming to facilitate services digitally by the private sector.
BRTC reviewed the previous tariff structure 15 months after it was introduced.In the previous tariff structure, the minimum voice call tariff was Tk 0.45 and the maximum was Tk 2 for a call centre.
As per the earlier rate, the cellphone operators used to get Tk 1.86, IPTSP (Internet Protocol Telephony Service Provider) Tk 0.10 and ICX (Interconnection Exchange) Tk 0.04.
The new tariff structure didn’t mention any minimum and maximum tariff rates.
Previously, the regulator imposed Tk 0.14 as off-net call tariff for short-code, but nothing as such is mentioned in the fresh tariff structure, an official said.
At the 229th commission meeting, the regulator set Tk 0.45 per minute as voice tariff for public short-code services, but failed to materialise it due to opposition from mobile operators, sources said.
In a letter to BTRC recently, International Finance Investment and Commerce (IFIC) Bank proposed re-fixing the minimum and maximum voice tariff for its short-code as it has been paying Tk 2.34 per minute for its short-code 16255 since 2012.Sources said the commission set the new tariff structure for better digital services by stakeholders in low cost as most of the service-oriented local and multinational companies, chain restaurants, hospitals and banks are providing their services through their own call centres using short-code approved by BTRC.
The Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have expressed disappointment over the new tariff structure, saying their revenue will come down drastically from the short-code services.
Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) Secretary General Brig Gen SM Farhad (Retd) said: "This being a commercial issue should be negotiated bilaterally. We have already communicated with BTRC and are still hoping that they will reconsider it.”
It is to be noted that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are already providing several toll-free voice services to government agencies such as Fire Service through 999 and such other free short messages to the people regularly, he said.