Robi Axiata and Banglalink, the second and third largest mobile operators in Bangladesh, prepared to face off against market leader Grameenphone by backing a government move to set a standard voice call rate.
Mustafa Jabbar, the country’s telecoms and ICT minister, said the standardised fee would put pressure on operators to improve service quality, and so attract subscribers and level the playing field, Bangladesh daily The Independent reported. The rate will be announced before a mobile number portability (MNP) scheme goes into effect on 31 July, he said.
After a review, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) fixed the call rate at BDT0.45 ($0.0053) per minute, commission sources said.
A BTRC representative told The Independent: “unfair competition is going on in the country’s telecoms market, as there is no fair competitive regulation among the mobile operators”.
The current minimum charge is BDT0.25 per minute for on-net calls (those between subscribers on the same network) and BDT0.60 per minute for off-net. The maximum charge is BDT2 per minute, the newspaper said, adding 90 per cent of Grameenphone’s calls are on-net. About 70 per cent of calls at Robi Axiata and Banglalink are on their own networks.
Mahmud Hossain, Grameenphone’s chief corporate affairs officer, warned call volumes would drop if the standard rate is introduced, noting 75 per cent of its revenue still comes from voice, the newspaper said.
Telenor-owned Grameenphone has 69 million connections and a 45 per cent market share; while Robi Axiata holds a 31 per cent share and Banglalink 22 per cent share, Q2 data from GSMA Intelligence showed.