Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will not issue any fresh no objection certificates (NOCs) to mobile phone operators Grameenphone and Robi before they clear their dues to the government.
Lifting the 10-day bandwidth restriction, the commission on Wednesday made this decision considering the suffering of cellphone users.
Grameenphone has Tk12,579.95 crore in dues to the government, including Tk4,085.95 crore to the National Board of Revenue (NBR), while Robi has to pay Tk867.23 crore to the government, including Tk197.21 crore to the NBR, according to a BTRC audit.
On July 4, the telecom regulator reduced 30 percent of Grameenphone’s bandwidth capacity – and 15 percent of Robi’s – as the two major operators failed to clear their dues.
The operators requested the regulator to withdraw the bandwidth restriction and solve the problem through discussion. But the BTRC denied to withdraw the restriction until getting the payable from the two companies.
Sources said, however, the operators had a meeting with Prime Minister’s ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy on Monday and urged him to take an initiative to solve the issue.
Following Joy’s request, the BTRC lifted the restriction on Wednesday night.
At a press conference on Tuesday, BTRC Chairman Md Jahurul Haque said Joy had asked for cancelling the decision to reduce bandwidth capacity as it ultimately affected customers.
“We’ll soon stop issuing NOCs to them (GP and Robi). Let us see what happens next,” he said.
“Once the BTRC stops issuing NOCs, Grameenphone and Robi will not be able to import telecom equipment and instruments,” said a BTRC director general.
“They will not be able to install base transceiver stations either,” he added.