The telecom regulator today issued two separate show cause notices to Grameenphone and Robi asking them to reply in 30 days why their licences will not be cancelled despite violating the licensing conditions by not paying the telecom regulator’s ‘dues’.
Jahirul Haque, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), has confirmed it to The Daily Star.
The BTRC has demanded Tk 12,579.95 crore from Grameenphone and Tk 867.24 crore from Robi as per finding of the audits into the two operators’ books.
The notices were served 10 days after the posts and telecommunications ministry gave approval to the BTRC to issue the show-cause notices.
Both GP and Robi have been demanding arbitration against the audit claims as per Bangladesh Arbitration Act 2001. But the BTRC remains non-responsive, saying that it would only follow the Telecommunication Act for its decision.
As per that section 46 of the Telecommunication Act, the telecom regulator can cancel the licence of an operator if it finds the operator’s response unsatisfactory.
On July 22, the BTRC decided not to give any kind of approval to Grameenphone and Robi to roll out new package or service or import network equipment -- to pile on the pressure on the operators to clear their dues.
Earlier on July 4, the BTRC had slashed Grameenphone’s bandwidth by 30 percent and Robi’s by 15 percent for non-payment of the dues -- enough to slow down their internet speed and raise the call drop frequency.
But the block on bandwidth was lifted on July 17 considering the inconvenience it was causing to subscribers.