BTRC toughens up on operators for dues | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 30, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:22 AM, September 30, 2015

BTRC toughens up on operators for dues

The regulator moves to take steps to realise Tk 5,243cr

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has moved to realise its dues amounting upwards of Tk 5,243 crore from the telecom sector.

This time the regulator is very serious and has decided to use all available instruments to realise the dues, said Md Sarwar Alam, spokesman for the BTRC.

The telecom regulator has given separate deadlines to various operators to clear their dues and threatened to sue them in case of failure.

Of the debtors, state-run landline operator Bangladesh Telecommuni-cations Company Ltd owes the highest: Tk 1,653 crore. State-run mobile phone operator Teletalk has about Tk 1,645.29 crore in arrears.

After issuing notices, the regulator will give BTCL and Teletalk a 21-day deadline to clear their dues.

The BTRC will also ask the National Board of Revenue and the central bank to attach the companies' assets with their liabilities to allow their use in getting due payments.

So far, it has cancelled some licences and filed 14 cases against international gateway (IGW) operators and a television channel to recoup the outstanding dues, which doubled from Tk 2,611 crore in June 2013.

The IGW and WiMax operators will get 15 days to clear their dues.

Private IGW operators owe the government Tk 891 crore, of which Tk 688.63 crore is down to five blocked IGWs. The regulator has already sought the court's intervention regarding the five blocked IGWs.

The BTRC has also recently decided to sue two more IGWs: SM Communication and Bestec Telecom.

The interconnection exchange (ICX) operators will get a deadline of 10 days, according to the BTRC.

The ICX operators owe the BTRC Tk 678.79 crore in revenue sharing and Tk 70.97 crore in late fees and some unpaid licence fees.

If the ICXs fail to clear the payments within the stipulated deadline, the regulator will block up to 80 percent of their voice-call handling capacity, an official said.

The international internet gateway operators are in debt of Tk 11.87 crore in licence fees and revenue share.

The country's oldest mobile phone operator, Citycell, owes Tk 274.67 crore for 2G licence renewal fee, spectrum charges, revenue sharing and social obligation fund contribution. The BTRC has decided to notify the operator to pay Tk 258.24 core in 15 days or face judicial action.

Top WiMax operator Banglalion owes Tk 46.72 crore.

Twelve private land phone operators are yet to repay Tk 38.6 crore owed to the regulator.

Some internet service providers and VoIP operators are also among the debtors, but the regulator is yet to calculate their total dues.

The BTRC also said mobile phone operators owe about Tk 4,000 crore, but the claim is disputed, according to the officials.

Of the amount, the regulator has sought Tk 3,034 crore from Grameenphone following an audit finding. But the issue is currently in the court.

Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi and Citycell have also taken the sector regulator to court over its VAT claims.

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