Grameenphone yesterday opposed the government's latest plan to introduce uniform call rate for mobile phones.
The unified rate would be higher than the highest ceiling of the existing on-net call rate, which would ultimately take a toll on the mobile phone users, the country's largest telecom operator said.
For each minute, operators on average currently charge Tk 0.35-0.40 for same network (on-net) calls and Tk 0.91-1.05 for a call to a different network (off-net).
Although, two other major operators—Banglalink and Robi—supported the idea of the single call rate, Grameenphone opined that the move will only hurt the telecom industry.
The operators have to compete within the fixed rate of Tk 0.25 (on-net), Tk 0.60 (off-net) and the highest of Tk 2 a minute for voice call set by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
Earlier on Tuesday, Grameenphone in a letter to the regulator proposed the government fix the on-net call charge at Tk 0.30 a minute and off-net at Tk 0.50.
It would be beneficial for the end-users, the government and the other operators as well if the rates are set according to Grameenphone's proposals, officials of the operator said in yesterday's press meet at a city hotel.
The call volume of the mobile industry will decrease to a great extent if the uniform rate is introduced, said Mahmud Hossain, chief corporate affairs officer at Grameenphone.
For every operator, around 64 percent of the calls come from the same network, he said, adding that a rise in the on-net floor price will bring down the profit of the operators.
“But, I could not predict how many calls will be reduced by the government move or how it will hurt Grameenphone's business,” Hossain said.
Not only Grameenphone, other operators will also incur losses because of the single call rate, he said.
Now, 75 percent of Grameenphone's revenue comes from voice calls, he said.
The government wants to go for the uniform rate to create pressure on the mobile operators to improve their service quality to attract customers.
The government thinks the move will save the customers from getting bill shocks when mobile number portability (MNP) is made available following its launch in August this year.
With the MNP, people will not be able to notice whether they are making on-net or off-net calls as the service allows users to switch to a different operator without changing existing mobile phone numbers.