Tunnels of Gaza and VoIP funnels of Bangladesh

Posted on February 5, 2009  /  2 Comments

Israel’s blockade has perforated the Egypt-Gaza border with countless tunnels. Tel Aviv’s first world military might has failed to stop such diggings. People’s power overpowers firepower.

Similarly, the illegal trading of international phone calls is, predictably, flourishing again in Bangladesh, according to a press report. Thanks to the ILDTS policy which has sprouted three IGW and three ICX licenses in 2007 by the military-backed government.

No operator (PSTN, Mobile or ISP) was allowed to bid for these licenses. Foreign investors, including Bangladeshi diaspora, were also forbidden according to the ILDTS policy. Nationalism is known to be the last resort of whom?

Highest revenue sharing with BTRC was the major criteria of awarding these licenses. Defying the global market, BTRC also dictates the rates of international traffic minutes – unique in the world. Sum them up all and you get a perfect recipe of regulatory disaster.

There has been no competition and there shall never be any. Because the PSTN and mobile operators have the traffic while a layer of middleman (IGW and ICX) walls between them and the international carriers. It has inevitably widened several windows of opportunities for the illegal call traffickers. Thanks again to the ILDTS policy of the military-backed government.


  1. It’s of little satisfaction to say “I told you so.” My advice was that the solution to the problem of bypass is to reduce the differential between international and national termination. Beyond the normal issues of tax revenue and respect for law and order, eliminating bypass is important for another reason: it reduces the flow of corruption-causing black money.

  2. I am really happy the illegal voip companies came back. My family pay only 2 cent/min to call to BD now. The only thing BTRC did was create middleman (IGW, IGG, ICX) they don’t even provide ANY VALUE added service; they are just there to collect money and hand a portion over it to BTRC. The regulator better get their acts together. On the positive note at least there will be competition. The licensed Voip companies competing with illegal voip companies that it, which provide services at half the cost.