3 firms win bids to handle international phone calls
Three local companies have won bids to set up international gateways to handle international phone calls to and from Bangladesh, ending the monopoly of state-run BTTB.
Novotel Limited, Mir Telecom and Bangla Trac Communications Ltd were declared winners yesterday after a marathon 26- hour auction that began at 10 in the morning on Monday at Radisson Water Garden hotel.
In the auction, 31 qualified firms vied to set up the three international exchanges to share 65 percent of revenue from overseas incoming and outgoing calls. The companies will give the government 51.75 percent of the revenue.
The remaining 15 percent and 20 percent of the total revenue will be shared by interconnection exchange and end users, local phone operators, respectively.
The auction for interconnection exchange licence is scheduled to be held today.
The three companies will receive licences for 15 years. The licences are renewable.
According to the licensing agreement, the new companies will have to set up their infrastructure in the next six months.
According to a Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) study, everyday 20 million minutes incoming and outgoing overseas calls are terminated mainly through illegal VoIP (voice over internet protocol).
The regulator believes that after setting up of three new international gateways, calls through illegal VoIP will be minimised. According to the BTRC, no international incoming call can be terminated for less than $0.06.
For international outgoing calls to mobile network and to PSTN (public switched telephone network) the tariff has been fixed at Tk16.50 and Tk6 a minute respectively.
BTRC Chairman Manzurul Alam hoped the government revenue will double in a year. The existing revenue is around Tk500crore a year.
The three companies have to deposit Tk 15 crore in licence fees each in 10 workdays from the day of bidding. Every year each firm will have to deposit Tk 7.5 crore for renewal of licence.
Talking to The Daily Star Mir Nasir Hossain, director of Mir Telecom, expressed his satisfaction over the auction procedure and termed it 'transparent'.
Hossain, also a former president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said government revenue from telecoms sector will definitely increase with the operations of international gateways.