Telecom operators owe govt Tk 13,068 crore

Telecom operators owe govt

The telecom operators owed Tk 13,068 crore to the government, Telecom Minister Mustafa Jabbar told parliament today.

Of the amount, Grameenphone owes Tk 10,580 crore and state-owned Teletalk Tk 1,631 crore.

The minister shared the information in response to a query from Jatiya Party Lawmaker Syed Abu Hossain Babla.

The minister said the amount of Grameenphone's audit objection is around Tk 12,579 crore and it has so far paid Tk 2,000 crore to the government.

In a scripted answer, the minister said, the amount of Robi Axiata's audit objection is around Tk 867 crore.

Of the amount, Robi has cleared Tk 138 crore and now its arrear stands at Tk 729 crore.

The minister also informed the House that Citycell owes around Tk 128 crore to the government.

Cases were pending in the Supreme Court over the arrears of Grameenphone, Robi and Citycell, Jabbar said.

In 2012, Bangladesh had 8.66 crore mobile subscribers, which has crossed over 18.34 crore this year, the telecom minister said in response to another query from Awami League Lawmaker Nazrul Islam Babu.

The country now has 3.19 crore 3G subscribers and 7.54 crore 4G users, Jabbar said.

The number of Bangladesh's internet subscribers was 2.89 crore in 2012, which is now hovering around 12.42 crore, he said.

The country's teledensity—the number of telephone connections per 100 people in a specified geographic area—is now 105.85 per cent, which was 60.9 per cent 10 years ago.

Internet density hit 71.57 per cent in 2022, up from 19.99 per cent in 2012.

Grameenphone has a market share of 45.95 per cent, Robi 29.45 per cent, Banglalink 20.85 per cent and Teletalk 3.7 per cent in Bangladesh, Jabbar said.

In reply to another question from ruling Awami League Lawmaker Nur Uddin Chowdhury, the minister said Grameenphone's market share is likely to increase further.

At this situation, the application of a uniform call rate will give advantage to Grameenphone and the business of small operators will be hampered, he said.

About call drop in response to a supplementary question from Syed Abu Hossain of the Jatiya Party, Jabbar said there is none in the country who has not ever been victim of a call drop.

He said the operators did not take even one third of the required amount of radio waves in line with the number of their customers.

"Under the pressure of the government, they (telecom operators) have increased their amount of radio waves last March. The problem will be solved if this wave is fully expanded by next December."

An opportunity for taking actions against the operators will be created if they do not fully expand the wave within December, the minister added.

He also expressed hope that Teletalk's network would be expanded across the country by 2023.


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