Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission will start issuing licences for call centres in April, the commission’s chairman said on March 19. The proposals came at the ”Public Hearing on Call Centre Licensing” organised by the Commission at Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre Wednesday morning.
As a follow-up to Public Consultation on the Proposed Licensing Guidelines for Call Centre, BTRC invited the general public and call-center enthusiasts to attend the public hearing where the proposed Licensing Guidelines, and terms and conditions were discussed openly. "We will publish the guidelines for call centres next week and start receiving applications from the first week of April," said BTRC chairman Major General (Retd) Manjurul Alam. "There is no category for getting the call-centre license. Any good citizen having trade license can apply for the license," BTRC chairman Alam told journalists at the break of the daylong public hearing.
BTRC would provide the license as long as there would be the market demand, he said, adding that there is no condition for getting the license at this moment. Anyone could get the license at a cost of Tk 5,000 for five years, which was proposed Tk 50,000 earlier, and no renewal fee for the license.
"The advertisement for applying for the license will be circulated on the BTRC website from the first week of April and also go on television and radio. Meanwhile, we”ll revise the proposed licensing guidelines for call centre based on the suggestions of the public hearing," Alam said.
According to the guidelines, call centres in Dhaka and Chittagong will get revenue-sharing holiday for a period of three years and, for other parts of the country, the holiday period will be for five years. On completion of the holiday period, the licence holders will have to share 0.5 per cent revenues with the BTRC every year.
BTRC said the licence fees for five years will be taka five thousand and there will be no renewal charge. Maximum 40 per cent foreign investment (FI) will be allowed for hosted call centre service providers, BTRC officials said at the public hearing.
They further said in the first year of its operation, a centre will be free to employ as many as foreign employees it needed, but thereafter the number of foreign employees in a call centre or hosted call centre service provider must not constitute more than 10 per cent of its total manpower. There will be two types of call centre licences—licence for domestic call centre services and licence for international call centre services.
The licences will be in three categories for both national and international services, such as hosted call centre services provider, hosted call centre licence and call centre licence.
Up to 40 percent foreign investment will be allowed to set up a hosted call centre services provider but 25 percent for others.
As the BTRC is proposing for the entrepreneurs to use IPLC (International Private Leased Circuit) for operating the call centres initially, the participants of the public hearing found it much expensive and asked the BTRC to look into the matter.
Responding to the remarks, chairman Alam said the BTTB has discounted 25 percent bandwidth charge for IPLC to facilitate the promising call centre industry.
"If needed, the BTRC will request the BTTB to reduce it more," he said, adding that the BTTB would also be requested to reduce the license fee of VSAT, as the call-centre entrepreneurs would also need it.
To facilitate the industry, the BTRC is to take step for establishing a second submarine cable at the end of this month, Alam said, expecting that the submarine cable would start in next one year at the maximum.
Speaking to the journalists, he said the BTRC is planning to arrange a call-centre fair in the country after formally inaugurating the industry on a large scale.
"Organisations concerned and clients will be invited to visit the industry here in the fair, like it was done recently in the Philippines," he said.