Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission and telecom ministry meet over licence row

By Telecom
Lead Team:
To resolve the matter of issuing three types of licences to 85
telcos and find a way, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission
(BTRC) and the telecom ministry of Bangladesh met on Sunday.

Earlier, the
telecom regulator had requested the telecom ministry to reconsider its decision
to give 85 new licences for international call transferring gateways, internet
gateways and interconnection exchanges.


number has been finalised. Names of some of the firms may be dropped during
BTRC’s scrutiny,” said Sunil Kanti Bose, Telecom secretary.

BTRC chairman Zia Ahmed said he will comment only after receiving reply to a
letter to the ministry seeking reconsideration of the decision.


Previously, he
said that the situation in the telecom sector will no longer be stable if the
proposed number of licences is issued. He added that the Bangladesh telecom
market does not support 85 new licences and they will not be able to make
business. Nine such licence holders already exist in the market.


He said
according to guidelines, all the telecom operators will have to connect with
the new licence holders, and that will become too cumbersome. Furthermore, he
added around 4.5 crore international call minutes will be daily distributed
among the IGWs that will not be a viable business for them.


BTRC predicts
that the large number of new entrants will complicate connectivity among
operators. Long-distance operators and BTRC have expressed concern that the
market’s balance will get affected if the 85 firms are given licence.

Last week, the telecom ministry had approved 85 new licences and sent the list
to the regulator to issue the licences. The final list includes 25 firms
selected for International Gateway (IGW), 21 for Interconnection Exchange (ICX)
and 39 for International Internet Gateway (IIG) licences.

According to a
BRTC official, a total of 153 applications were placed for the licences. Three
BTRC evaluation committees examined the applications and sent the list to the
ministry, highlighting the evaluation marks.

According to the BTRC director general (legal and licences) A K M
Shahiduzzaman, the firms will have to give Tk 150 million for licence for IGW,
Tk 50 million for ICX and Tk 500,000 for IIG. 


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