Just a day after paying the telecom regulator Tk1,000 crore as part of a disputed audit claim, Grameenphone has received a fresh court order to pay the same amount again within three months.
The Appellate Division on Monday ordered the company to deposit Tk1,000 crore more to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
A bench led by Chief Justice Mahmud Hossain issued the order after Grameenphone filed a review petition to extend the time for depositing the remaining Tk1,000 crore.
"We want foreign companies to run their business in Bangladesh and they should do so according to the law," the court said, adding, "In the full verdict, we will ask the authorities concerned to let Grameenphone do its business peacefully."
It is, however, still not clear whether the company will get no-objection certificates for importing network equipment. The telecom regulator has not issued the certificates since July last year.
BTRC Chairman Jahurul Haque said the decision on issuing the certificates would come from the court and that will be in the written document of the court order.
"We started providing no-objection certificates for Robi when it deposited its first instalment. In Grameenphone's case, there are complexities as it was supposed to deposit Tk2,000 crore but has paid only Tk1,000 crore," he explained.
He added they could lift the ban on issuing no objection certificates if the court asks them to do so.
Company operations hampered
Due to the long battle with the BTRC over the disputed audit claim, Grameenphone – the country's largest mobile phone operator – has been facing problems with network expansion and its operations.
It could not build new network towers and other infrastructures in the last eight months. That is why it is providing services with the previous infrastructures even though it has secured 33.8 lakh new subscribers during this period.
The company hopes the BTRC will start issuing no-objection certificates following Monday's court order.
"We appreciate that the Appellate Division has maintained the injunction. We will evaluate the order before making further comments," a Grameenphone statement said on Monday.
On Sunday, Grameenphone paid the BTRC Tk1,000 crore as the Appellate Division on November 24 last year ordered the company to pay within three months Tk2,000 crore as part of the disputed audit claim involving dues of Tk12,580 crore.
On January 26 this year, Grameenphone said it did want to pay the regulator Tk2,000 crore. It wanted to pay Tk575 crore or 25 percent of the principal audit claim of Tk2,300 crore.
Meanwhile, On February 19, Grameenphone offered Tk100 crore to the BTRC to continue dialogues over the disputed audit claim.
However, the telecom regulator rejected the offer, saying the court had given an order on the issue and the BTRC could not override that order to make a decision.
GP re-evaluates Flexiplan, internet package prices
There were rumours that Grameenphone would increase prices of internet packages and Flexiplan from February 23.
However, the company denied the rumours, and said it would actually introduce some new packages at reasonable prices.
"The prices of a few internet packages will be re-evaluated for Flexiplan customers. This will allow the customers to use more data at cheaper prices," it said in a statement.