3,500 VoIP licences will be issued in three months

The government has decided to issue more than 3,500 licences to the local entrepreneurs for handling international calls to and from Bangladesh through voice over internet protocol technology, which is still prohibited under the existing law.

“The licences will be issued to the new entrants within next three months after the Telecom Regulatory Act 2010 gets parliament’s nod,” Telecom Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju said yesterday.

The minister’s disclosure is expected to bring all illegal VoIP operators under a legal framework.

Industry insiders said at present more than 1,500 people are involved in illegal VoIP business.

The minister was speaking at a press meet with Telecom Reporters Network Bangladesh at the head office of Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd in the capital.

Sunil Kanti Bose, posts and telecommunications secretary, explained a bit more about this saying anyone can do the VoIP business under the legal framework at affordable costs.

“After taking the VoIP licence, the operation cost of a licensee would be maximum Tk 5 lakh,” said Bose.

Around 60 million minutes of international calls are made to and from Bangladesh a day. Industry insiders say presently more than 20 percent of the total calls are still routing by the illegal VoIP operators.

VoIP has become a lucrative business as the technology offers international calls at charges much lower than the legal calls. Hundreds of people have been engaged in this business.

The government has recently cancelled licences of five landline operators for their involvement in illegal international call termination through VoIP technology.

The operators are RanksTel, Dhaka Phone, National Telecom, Peoples Tel and WorldTel. Besides, licences of more than 20 internet service providers were cancelled for the same reason.

Replying to a query, the minister said that the government has no intention of shutting down any more television channel.

The government shut down Channel 1 due to its own legal problem, he said.

Source: The Daily Star

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