The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has issued a notice to Grameenphone and Robi asking them why their licenses should not be cancelled because of their backlog fees.
The notice was issued on Thursday evening, confirmed Zakir Hossain, senior assistant director of BTRC.
“As per the 65(2) provision of the BTRC Act-2001, the commission asked the operators to show cause why their 2G and 3G licenses will not be cancelled in the next 30 days,” he added.
Grameenphone has outstanding dues of Tk12,579 crore while Robi’s dues are Tk867.24 crore, according to BTRC audits.
On July 4, BTRC directed all International Internet Gateway operators to cut 30 percent of Grameenphones total bandwidth usage, and 15 percent for Robi.
However, considering its adverse impact on users, BTRC withdrew the decision of bandwidth restriction and instead suspended issuing of any No Objection Certificate required for importing equipment to run the network.
In a reaction to BTRC’s move, Grameenphone said, “This notice is unjustified, and yet another step by the regulator to refuse our invitation to seek an amicable solution to the disputed audit claim. Grameenphone will assess the notice before considering a response. We will take necessary measures to protect the rights of the company, our shareholders and customers against any unwarranted action by the regulator.”
Earlier, on July 7, Grameenphone Chief Executive Officer Michael Patrick Foley termed the decision to block its bandwidth over outstanding dues "inappropriate" and "illegal."
“Issuing a show-cause notice over cancellation of license will create an adverse reaction among the investors and uncertainty will loom among the subscribers. We will reply to this notice in due course,” said Robi’s Chief Corporate and Regulatory Officer Shahed Alam.
According to the BTRC, as of May, Grameenphone has 7.48 crore active connections while Robi has 4.77 crore connections, and about half of them use the internet.