International Call Termination

Md. Ahsan-ul Islam

With the advent of new technology illegal international call termination is mushrooming in Bangladesh. Thousands of illegal call terminators are active in the big cities where ISP (Internet Service Provider) connectivity is available and it is incrementing every day. As a result Government is loosing valuable foreign currency.

The simple meaning of international call termination is carrying international voice traffic from around the world and delivering those to the desired telephone numbers. As such the call terminators are acting as international backbone (long distance) operator violating existing rules and regulations.

The call termination technique has become so simple that anybody having few telephone numbers and a broad band ISP connectivity can launch the service. The step by step scenario is:

Ø The call originated from the partner VOIP carrier worldwide is routed over the IP network with a particular IP address.

Ø The call comes as IP packets to the particular ISP provider. The ISP provider sends the packets to the call terminator who is having broadband Internet connectivity with unique IP address.

Ø International call terminator receives the IP packets in its Gateway. The Gateway is connected with ISP by broadband connectivity of Symmetrical Bandwidth. The gateways have provision for 4, 8, 16 or more telephone lines.

Ø International calls are unbundled from VOIP to telephone calls in the call terminators gateway and terminated via above telephone lines to the called party.

In brief call Termination Business requires the following :

Ø VOIP Gateway with Analog (4, 8, 16, etc.) ports.

Ø VOIP billing server to account the paid minutes.

Ø Telephone Number at least 4 (four).

Ø Broadband Internet Access with Symmetric Bandwidth with 8-10 kbps/ Voice- Channel.

Ø Partnership with a VOIP Carrier.

The digital VOIP-based termination solution is also available. But it is not in use largely. This type of termination utilizes single to multiple E1(30 channel) connections. The generally used brand for these Gateways are Cisco, Quintum, Multitech etc.
In the early days of call termination, managed IP networks were used. But with the coming up of newer technology and high capacity submarine cable, Public Internet is being used for call termination now a days.
If we look into the history of illegal call termination in Bangladesh it can be said that the evil clutch started to spread from the year 2000. When the Government has opened the use of V-SAT to flourish information technology (IT). Taking this advantage some V-SAT users started illegal call termination business.

The effect of call termination is alarming. International calls via BTTB Gateway(ITX) is decreasing day by day resulting huge loss of foreign currency. On the other hand, it is severely affecting the performance of telephone switching equipment. As the holding time for call termination is too high and telephone number is not a standard tool for call delivery, such high usage is not considered in telephone exchange dimensioning. So, PSTN subscribers are facing congestion problem in subscriber stage. Moreover due to pilling up of telephone numbers by the call terminators the real subscribers are being deprived of getting telephone lines. In the case of Mobile the congestion scenario is also acute. Due to use of Mobile numbers for call termination the mobile subscribers of the specific cells find difficulty in getting radio access channel for generating or receiving calls.

It is high time to decide on this illegal practice. Otherwise the Government will be deprived from huge amount of foreign currency every year. On the other hand everyday more and more telephone numbers will go to the hand of call terminators and the people who really needs telephone will not get it. Concurrently the quality of service of telephone exchange will decrease remarkably in the days to come. In this context, Government should take immediate step to stop illegal voice termination for the betterment of the country.