Earlier, the spectrum allotted to mobile phone operator Citycell was suspended due to failure of paying dues, as ordered by the High Court.
BTRC on August 17 issued a notice to Citycell asking to explain by 30 days why its licence for the operation would not be cancelled for its failure to pay dues.
Meanwhile, the raid comes in the wake of BTRC suspending Citycell’s spectrum when it failed to pay outstanding payments. BTRC officials entered the Citycell headquarters at 5pm yesterday.
Banani police Inspector Wahiduzzaman confirmed the operation to Dhaka Tribune. But he could not provide any details. He said that the operation was being carried out to follow court orders.
No payments, no operations
State Minister for Posts and Telecommunication Tarana Halim said the regulator suspended Citycell’s operations as it had failed to pay government dues.
She announced: “BTRC has shut down Citycell’s operations and suspended the spectrum since it failed to pay the dues.”
“Citycell was supposed to pay the two third of the outstanding amount within four weeks, but it failed to pay the money. That is why we took the decision to implement the judgment of the court,” she said.
The announcement came at press conference held at Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) office while the drive was being carried out in Citycell offices.
A BTRC official confirmed that the regulator suspended Citycell’s spectrum at 5pm yesterday.
Tk 477crore overdue in fines, fees
Citycell has owed to the government of Tk 477.51 crore since long as spectrum and license renewal fees and other charges.
On August 29, a five-member bench of Appellate Division of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice SK Sinha gave a verdict where Citycell was allowed to continue its operation if it paid all its dues within three months.
On August 17, the BTRC issued a notice to Citycell asking to explain within 30 days why its license for the operation should not be cancelled for its failure to pay dues.
The telecom regulator also ordered the company to create an alternative arrangement for providing the service to its subscribers even after shutdown.
On July 31, BTRC asked Citycell again to pay its all dues, including regulatory fee and fine worth Tk477 crore by August 16.
Out of the total outstanding payment, two-thirds must be paid in a month while the rest of the amount must be paid within the next two months.
As per the judgment of the AD, Citycell had to pay Tk318 crore to the BTRC by October 19. But, it couldn’t do it.
Besides, the AD had also given them (citycell) another one month for the remaining one third outstanding amount.
“But, as the operator didn’t fulfill the first part of the judgment of AD, so there is no option for another part of the judgment,” said State Minister Tarana Halim.
Bangladesh Telecom Limited received the license for telecom services in 1989.
It is the only CDMA network operator in the country. It is currently owned by Singtel with 45% stake and the remaining 55% is owned by the Pacific Group and Far East Telecom.