Bangladeshi mobile operators are divided on the issue of a new higher minimum retail on-net call rate to be enforced by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) this month, Mobile World Live reports. According to BTRC sources, the regulator intends to raise the minimum on-net voice charge to BDT0.45 (USD0.0053) per minute, up from the current minimum threshold of BDT0.25, in the interests of ‘fair competitive regulation’. Mobile market leader GrameenPhone – with approximately 90% of its voice traffic on-net – has opposed the BTRC’s proposal, whilst rivals Robi Axiata and Banglalink (both with lower on-net call percentages roughly in the 70% ballpark) have backed the move.
ICT minister Mustafa Jabbar confirmed that the authorities plan to formally announce new regulated retail rates before mobile number portability (MNP) is launched in Bangladesh on 31 July. Grameenphone’s chief corporate affairs officer Mahmud Hossain argued that the measure will cause call volumes to drop, noting that voice services still represent around three-quarters of the leading cellco’s revenues.