News From Telecom World

Mobile Operators doubts over ICX service quality

Posted on: December 21, 2008

As the deadline for connecting all telecom operators with interconnection exchanges (ICXs) for transferring inter-operators’ domestic calls is approaching, phone companies are casting doubt over the quality of ICX services.

The phone companies claim the ICXs will not be able to handle the huge calls generated locally due to their lack of capacity, while the ICXs say they are well-equipped to take the extra pressure of calls.

State-run Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL), and M&H Telecom and Getco Telecommunications Ltd, the two other private companies, are scheduled to start handling all local phone calls from December 24 through the ICXs.

However, at a recent meeting with telecom watchdog, BTCL said it needs more than two months extra time to get ready to handle such calls.

Industry insiders said all telecom companies generate around 40-million-minute domestic calls a day. As per the guidelines, the three ICX operators will have to handle 90 percent of the total local calls generated a day.

The rest 10 percent calls will be handled on a competitive basis. Operators can send these calls to any ICX operators.

Besides BTCL, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) issued two private ICXs licences through a competitive auction in February for handling local telecom operators’ local and international calls.

ICX refers to a switching system, which provides interconnections among the existing or future telecommunication network of the operators and allows monitoring, lawful interception facilities and roaming number portability.

“We are well-equipped to handle local calls generated everyday,” said Arifur Rahman, chief operating officer of M&H Telecom. M&H also has some extra capacity to handle excess calls, he added.

So if BTCL fails to handle calls at this moment, it will not be a major problem for the two private ICXs to handle all calls, said Rahman.

But the telecom operators differ. They expressed concern whether ICXs will have any backup support to handle calls in case of any disaster.

It might be ‘risky’ if ICXs try to handle all calls from the deadline, said a high official of a mobile phone company seeking anonymity. The official said: “We have no problem to pump our calls to the ICXs. Our anxiety is that if any disruption occurs, who will be responsible for losing our service credentials?”

The official also expressed doubt over the capacity of the ICXs to handle the calls.

The 45-million-subscriber-based telecom market’s domestic calls have so far been handled through inter-operators’ deals. Telecom companies said it is better that inter-operators’ deals are kept operational until they find ICXs reliable.

Source: Daily Star

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