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Not BTRC, government to decide Citycell fate

  • Published at 01:44 am August 4th, 2016
Not BTRC, government to decide Citycell fate
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood disclosed this while addressing a press conference at his office in the city yesterday. Earlier on July 31, in a surprising move, BTRC had served a notice to Citycell to pay its all dues, including regulatory fees and fines worth Tk477 crore by August 16. BTRC Chairman had earlier stated that Citycell would have to manage an alternative way for giving its customers services and must pay its dues. “We have discussed with the representatives of Citycell about its debt, future of the existing subscribers. We are preparing a set of recommendations, observations, which will be sent to the government,’’ says Mahmood. He said: “The government will make the final decision about the fate of Citycell as to whether it would be shut or be continued services.” BTRC Chief informed the journalists that the total number of Citycell subscribers is approximately 1,50,000 after the biometric RIM registration, BTRC Chairman said: “Whatever the number of the subscribers is, as a regulator we are very much concerned about its valued subscribers.” Responding to a question, Mahmood said the commission wants to ensure level playing field for all the mobile operators as BTRC does not favour any operator. Industry insiders have apprehended that Citycell is likely to be closed down after a latest move by the regulator. BTRC Director (licence) MA Tayab Hossain served the notice to the operator to explain why it should not face legal action for not paying dues. According to BTRC, the Citycell has not paid the second and third instalments of the renewal fees of Tk229 crore for 8.82 megahertz spectrum since spectrum renewal in 2012, which has breached the licensing terms. The other dues include Tk10 crore annual licence fees, Tk27.14 crore for annual spectrum fees from 2013 to 2016, Tk27.84 crore revenue sharing from 2014 to 2016, Tk8.92 crore corporate social responsibility fund from 2011 to 2016 while Tk39.92 crore VAT and Tk13.5 crore late fees. BTRC Vice-Chairman Ahsan Habib Khan said: “More voice and internet blackout drill will be held in the coming days as part of a security measures.” The regulator held its internet blackout drill in different areas of Dhaka city at midnight of Monday last. The commission exercised the blackout operation to tackle any emergency situation like the Holey Artisan Bakery attack in Gulshan area.