The country's mobile financial service (MFS) providers will have to pay service-based charge to mobile network operators (MNOs) for using their infrastructure, according to new directives issued by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
Mobile financial service users won't need to pay the charge from their airtime.
MNOs and MFS providers would introduce a new charge structure through separate agreements, said the directives issued on Monday.
MFSPs used to pay mobile operators 7 per cent of their profits. If any MFSP earns Tk 20 per Tk 1,000 transactions, it used to pay 7 per cent to MNO.
The new charge will be based on mobile operators' services, irrespective of transactions.
According to new directives, BTRC divided the charge into revenue generating services and non-revenue generating services.
For revenue generating transaction, tariff for each successful Unstructured Supplementary Services Data (USSD) session of 90 seconds or fraction thereof will be Tk 0.85. Maximum two SMSs shall be included for each session within this tariff.
Revenue generating services will have to be declared as per existing invoice and none is authorised to change that service type without prior permission from BTRC, the directives said.
The directive said tariff for each successful USSD session of 90 seconds or fraction thereof will be Tk 0.40. Maximum two SMSs shall be included for each session within this tariff for non-revenue generating transaction.
Mobile operators welcomed the directives as they have long been demanding service-based charge structure.
A top official of Grameenphone said service-based charge structure of MFPS is recognised worldwide.
"As MFSPs use our service, they should pay for service. We don't need to know how much profits they earn," he added.
Another leading mobile phone operator Robi Axiata Ltd has also welcomed the comprehensive directive on Mobile Financial Service (MFS).
"Our longstanding demand for the introduction of session-based charge has finally been incorporated after four-year discussion and with the consent of Bangladesh Bank, BTRC, MNOs and MFS operators," Chief Corporate and Regulatory Officer of Robi Axiata Ltd Shahed Alam told the FE.
He, however, said customers don't have any reason to get worried over any additional charge due to this directive as MFS providers will pay such charge to mobile operators.
When contacted, Shamsuddin Haider Dalim, Head of Corporate Communications and PR of largest MFSP bKash, refused to comment on the directives.
According to new directives, MNOs shall keep a record of successful and failed USSD session along with predefined error code.
For failed USSD sessions, MNOs shall be able to identify the number of USSD sessions terminated due to its own network failure.
While issuing invoice to MFS providers, MNOs shall omit these session counts from monthly total USSD counts.
"The data on at least two years will be preserved."
The directives have been issued to formulate a framework to describe the method and operations of mobile financial services (MFS) including procedures for the provision of technological support.
Proper implementation of the directives will help all stakeholders create a promising MFS market.