The telecom regulator has formed a four-member committee to investigate if mobile phone operators are sharing their fibre optic cables illegally.
The committee will run physical inspection into the infrastructure of the mobile phone operators and also into the business entities that are taking transmission services from the mobile operators, said Shahjahan Mahmood, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
The decision came after BTRC found Grameenphone to be flouting rules by providing broadband internet services through its own transmission network to state-run Sonali Bank in collaboration with its sister concern Go Broadband.
BTRC has fined the operator Tk 30 crore, which has to be paid by November 16.
The committee that will be led by MA Taleb Hossen, director for licensing at BTRC, will include two other members from the engineering and operation division and legal division.
Earlier on September 18, the telecom watchdog issued a directive that prevented mobile phone operators from providing fibre optic connectivity to another telecom operator.
“The telecom operators will have to take all types of fibre optic connectivity, both primary and secondary, from operators of the National Telecommunication Transmission Network,” the directive said.
BTRC officials found misuse of the previous permission that allowed mobile phone operators to provide secondary fibre optic connections. Other operators took primary connections from mobile operators, claiming those as secondary ones, the officials added.
“Also, mobile operators take fibre optic connectivity or build their own transmission network bypassing rules,” another BTRC official said.
He said the committee will submit a comprehensive report on the matter soon.
The Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh, in a letter to BTRC recently, said the NTTN operators failed to provide quality services, which impacted the performance of the mobile operators. Although, there are five NTTN licencees, only two are active, it said in the letter.
The mobile operators asked the NTTN operators several times to maintain the quality of service, but the effort went in vain as there was a lack of competition in the area, according to the letter. There are 54,228 kilometres of fibre optic cable in Bangladesh, with the NTTN operators having the major share.
Summit Communication has 20,670 kilometres, Fiber@ Home 15,468 kilometres, Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd 4,935 kilometres, Power Grid Company of Bangladesh 4,402 kilometres and Bangladesh Railway 2,105 kilometres.
Among the mobile phone operators, Banglalink has 3,001 kilometres, Grameenphone 2,490 kilometres and other operators 1,157 kilometres, according to BTRC.