Bangladesh VoIP Operators Unable to Place International Calls
September 03, 2013
By Mae Kowalke
, TMCnet Contributor
Corruption is an ever-present concern in the Indian subcontinent. Newly licensed VoIP operators in Bangladesh think they are victims of such corruption.
“A few high officials of the regulator, who are supposed to be the protectors, have been playing the role of predators, creating a syndicate with some corrupt businessmen,” wrote Rabiul Karim, convener of the VoIP Service Provider Association (VSPA), in a written speech.
Five months ago 1,004 VoIP licenses were awarded to operators, but these new VoIP service providers (VSPs) have not yet been able to place incoming international calls even though they theoretically are connected to the international gateways (IGWs). They blame the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) for corruption.
A number of IGWs had taken VoIP licenses themselves, and were now only handling their own calls, the VSPA has alleged.
“Many of the IGWs took several VoIP licenses against different people, including their own employees,” wrote the VSPA’s Karim. “As the IGWs are handling calls terminated by their VoIPs, they now show little interest in receiving calls from us.”
He added: “The BTRC is now busy only to favor a few operators who are politically powerful.”
Further, VSPs are in the dark about how to collect fees on incoming calls from international carriers. He alleged that the BTRC guideline did not have any directives in this regard.
“We have even found that these officials do not have any clear idea about our licensing procedure,” he wrote.
The VSPA said it would resort to a human chain to get its grievance addressed.
The VSPA has announced a human chain program in front of the National Press Club on September 8 and a sit-in program in front of the BTRC office on September 19.
“Give us connectivity without wasting any time, otherwise refund our license fees,” said a leader of the VSPA.
In addition to claiming corruption, the VSPA asked for favors.
It suggested that the BTRC ask the government to reduce the call termination rate in half, from $.03 to $.015 per minute.
Further, it proposed a change in the government’s revenue sharing structure, reducing the government’s share from existing 51.75 percent to 40 percent.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson