Government Policy

‘OTT apps renders fall of int’l call’

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood today said the increased use of OTT (Over-the-Top) apps has cut the international call termination in the country.

"Not only illegal call termination through VoIP, but also the mass use of OTT apps is also responsible for the decline of international call termination via legal channel," he told a press conference at BTRC office this morning.

The press conference was arranged to explain the real scenario of the international call termination against the back drop of some media reports that criticized the regulator and telecom ministry for failing to curb the illegal uses of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

Mentioning the country is registering daily 70-80 million minutes international call, Dr Mahmood said, "The call volume had peaked at 123 million minute in a day after slashing the rate to 1.5 cents at the end of 2014 from three cents, but the volume again dropped due to increased the rate to two cents."

Referring to their move of allowing maximum two hours from the existing four hours to deactivate any SIM detected for VoIP, he said BTRC is working relentlessly to curb the illegal VoIP and "will continue to show 'zero tolerance' against the people involved with the illicit job."

About the media reports that mentioned the BTRC as news sources, the chairman said: "Only BTRC secretary and I myself are the authorized persons to disseminate any information. That's why I strongly stated that those media reports have no relation with the BTRC."

In the media reports, the state-owned operator Teletalk has also been presented for its alleged involvement with VoIP.

In this respect, Post and Telecommunications Secretary Faizur Rahman Chowdhury, who is also the Chairman of Teletalk Board of Directors, said as a state-owned entity, Teletalk was not shown any mercy for any illegal involvement.

He said if anyone makes VoIP using SIM of any operator including Teletalk, the concern operator would be responsible for the crime. "BTRC will not show any mercy to it."

About the financial penalty that is yet to pay by the operator, the secretary said: "Although Teletalk is fully government-owned organization, it has to pay like other private companies. But, in case of failure it can adjust the financial debt with the government."

He said Teletalk's main motto is not making profit rather to serve the people without incurring loss.

BTRC Vice Chairman Ahsan Habib Khan, other commissioners and high officials, among others, were present at the press conference.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)