• Monday, July 28, 2014

Regulator rejects IGWs' proposal to form cartel

Abdullah Mamun

The telecom regulator has rejected the proposal of a group of international gateways to form a clearing house that was meant to control the entire cache of overseas calls.
The regulator also formed a committee to prepare a set of rules on how the gateways will create a platform.
A section of international gateways initiated a bid last month to float IGW Operators Forum, comprising 17 gateways of the total 29 in the market.
But the plan drew criticism from analysts and some industry operators who warned the platform would control the industry bypassing policies and rules.
Officials of Bangladesh Teleco-mmunication Regulatory Commi-ssion yesterday sat with the representatives of IGW operators to discuss how a platform can be formed under a legal framework.
BTRC Chairman Sunil Kanti Bose said, if such a forum is created, it will have to abide by the guideline to be prescribed by the committee.

“We want such a forum that will ensure discipline in the sector as well as revenue for the government,” he said.
He said a BTRC committee already examined the proposal for creating the forum and gave opinions against the move. The BTRC also found the proposal lacked consensus among the IGW operators.
The forum had proposed that all the gateways should be connected with the clearing house, which will have two tiers.
The IGWs in tier 2, which will have only six members, will transmit international incoming calls to telecom operators through interconnection exchanges, while tier 1 will only send its entire calls to tier 2.
The system was supposed to create a revenue-sharing model that distributes twice the revenue to tier 2 gateways compared to that in tier 1.
The BTRC said the telecom policy does not allow multiple tiers among licensees.
The proposal also bound each member to contribute Tk 48 lakh a year to the forum to maintain the system. The forum was also supposed to collect 'unspecified' amounts from the gateways in the name of market development expenditure to stop illegal use of VoIP (voice over internet protocol).
The regulator cannot allow any unspecified amount of money to be deposited by any licensee, a BTRC official said.
The BTRC also found that it is not possible for the forum to ensure revenue on behalf of all the gateways.
The two tiers were supposed to pay in different ways, which the regulator said is a violation of rules. The commission will not let any group control the industry, the official said.

Published: 12:00 am Friday, July 18, 2014

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