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IGW operators demand huge cut in licence fees

Published : Tuesday, 13 April, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 156
Shaikh Shahrukh

IGW (International Gateway) operators are demanding a massive reduction in their annual license renewal fees.
At present its annual license renewal fee is Tk3.75 crore but they want to pay only Tk50 lakh a year, an eighty percent reduction.
Previously IGW Operators Forum (IOF), an organization of IGW operators, applied to the Bangladesh Telecom Regulator Commission (BTRC) to halve not only the renewal fee but also the existing revenue share with the government.
Even the IOF issued the letter on October 19 last year.
In response to the IOF's request, the BTRC sent a letter to the Department of Posts and Telecommunications asking for a decision on November 8.
In reply the Department of Posts and Telecommunications said there was no opportunity for it to consider the application.
Minister for the Posts and Telecommunications Mustafa Jabbar said, "IGW operators can apply but we don't look after financial matters. It is the Ministry of Finance that looks after all the financial matters. If the Ministry of Finance thinks it reasonable, then it can reduce the fee."
The BTRC sent a letter to the     Department of Posts and Telecommunications on November 10 seeking a decision on the application. When the letter was sent to the Finance Department of the Finance Ministry, the Finance Department called a meeting on November 29.  
The meeting decided to send a full proposal to the Finance Department with a detailed report analyzing the comparative data of call rates, revenue and call volume of different financial years at the IGW sector.  
BTRC formed a committee in this regard.  It is learned that the committee has held 5 meetings so far.
According to BTRC sources, the number of international incoming calls in the country in July 2020 was 750 million minutes.  In December it stood at 650 million minutes.
Now, on an average, calls are coming to the country every day for a little more than 20.16 million minutes which was about two and a half million minutes in July.
Calls have decreased by 100 million minutes in 5 months. In the span of 5 years, it has decreased by 100 million minutes per day. In 2015, the average number of calls per day was about 120 million minutes.  Now it has come down to 20 million.

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