Cut in call charge to check illegal VoIP

March 16th, 2010

Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL) yesterday urged a cut in international incoming call charge, which it said will help check illegal call termination through VoIP (voice over internet protocol) technology.

The state-run telecom operator sought a call charge at 1.5 cents, down from existing three cents per minute.

“Price reduction can be one of the best ways to control illegal call termination business,” said SM Khabiruzzaman, managing director of BTCL, at a press briefing in Dhaka.

Landline business apart, BTCL owns an international gateway (IGW) to handle overseas calls. Three other IGWs from private sector are also running IGW business.

Khabiruzzaman said international incoming call charge has come down to one cent in India, and so no illegal voice transmission occurs there. In contrast, he said, such call charge ranges from three cents to 10 cents in Pakistan where illegal VoIP business is rampant.

Presently, illegal VoIP operators charge 1.5 cents to 2.5 cents for handling international incoming calls. Bangladesh’s telecom market receives more than three crore minutes’ calls a day.

Khabiruzzaman said VoIP is a very handy technology. It is better for the government to open it in a systematic way, he said.

He also suggested giving permission to the existing IGWs to lease E1 connectivity to the VoIP traders so all of them come under a legal framework.

E1 is an all-digital communications line that allows transmission of voice, data, video, and graphics at higher speed compared to standard communication lines. Illegal VoIP operators handle international calls through E1 devices.

However, private IGW operators earlier opposed the move to cut international call charge, which they said would harm their business.

But the BTCL boss said such a price cut always increases call volume. After the government decision to reduce international incoming call charge from six cents to three cents, incoming international calls went up significantly, he said.

Source: The Daily Star

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