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Dhaka Tribune

BTRC not to approve Teletalk proposals until dues paid

Update : 18 Oct 2015, 07:02 PM

Telecommunication regulator BTRC has warned that it wouldn’t approve any equipment purchase proposal of Teletalk until the state-owned mobile phone operator pays its dues.

The decision has been taken in a recent meeting as the operator has not been paying its dues to the BTRC for years, which amounts to TK1585.13 crore. Teletalk has not paid any fees and charges since the start of operation in 2004.

Although the meeting approved the purchase proposal of Femto Cell equipment used usually in 3G spectrum, warning had been issued for future proposals, said a BTRC official.

He said the regulator had reminded Teletalk several times of its long-standing dues, but the operator repeatedly ignored and stayed without response to such reminders.

BTRC even sent a number of letters to Post and Telecommunications Division on the matter. Last in August, the regulatory body chairman raised the issue to state minister for post and telecommunications with a DO letter.

At that time the telecom watchdog also asked the operator to pay all dues in 21 days. BTRC said if they failed to give the money by the stipulated time, the BTRC would take actions under Bangladesh Telecommunication Act 2001.

Teletalk Managing Director Giasuddin Ahmed, however, declined to make any comment. He said as the matter was between two government entities, the government was to decide on the dues.   

Four private operators paid $20m each for per Mhz 3G spectrum during the 3G auction in 2013. They also deposited a total of $80m to the BTRC as earnest money for participating in the auction. 

But the state-owned operator didn’t pay any amount of money for 3G although it was the first to be allowed to provide 3G services in Bangladesh.

Telecom industry experts said the state-owned operator was receiving favours from the regulator compared to private operators in the payments of taxes and revenues to the government exchequer.

An official said the BTRC authorities think if they continue to give more time to Teletalk in realising dues, it will be a discrimination to private operators, which will ultimately affect the level-playing field in the country’s telecommunication sector. 

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