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BTTB plans 33pc tariff cut PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Call to mobile network

Staff Correspondent

Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board has proposed slashing the call tariff by 33 per cent for making call to mobile operator's network in a bid to withstand stiff competition from its rival operators.

The state-owned land phone operator which saw a negative subscriber growth last year also proposed introducing a Tk 0.25 per minute based tariff for making a local call between its own network, abolishing existing Tk 1.5 per unit (five minute) based call rate that would be actually turned into a 17 per cent reduction of call tariff in the local call segment.

According to the officials of the posts and telecom ministry, the telephone board last week sent the proposal to the ministry which proposed Tk 1 per minute call charge for making a call to mobile phone.

The telephone board currently charges Tk 1.5 per minute regardless of peak and off-peak hour to make a call to mobile networks. Telecommunications secretary Iqbal Mahmud on Sunday said the ministry was reviewing the proposal put forward by the telephone board. 'We are working on it.'

BTTB officials said the reduction in call charge was important to plug the declining customer base of the telephone board which is under the process to turn into a government owned public limited company soon.

According to data of Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, the telephone board lost around 5,000 subscribers in 2007 to settle at 8.72 lakh from 8.77 lakh in 2006 despite the private land phone subscribers soared by 122 per cent to 3.15 lakh during the same period.

The telephone board was losing subscribers because of its inability to withstand the increased competition from private landline operators which were offering fixed phone connections with handset for prices with value added services lower than that of the telephone board offers, BTTB officials said.

This resulted in a drastic decline in the demand for telephone board connections, an official said. 'The demand for landlines in districts is on the decline and the capacity of many telephone exchanges remains underutilised.' Earlier in November, the telephone board cut call tariffs, line rent and transfer fees for the board's land phones significantly to remain in the competition.

It reduced the nationwide dialling by halve to Tk 1.5 a minute on 30-second pulses. The monthly line rent has been reduced to Tk 80 in Dhaka and Chittagong multi-exchange areas, Tk 70 in districts and Tk 50 in upazilas from Tk 150 in line rent.]

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