The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will have no alternative but to appoint administrators if the mobile operators Grameenphone and Robi do not pay the dues, said BTRC Chairman Jahurul Haque on Thursday.
He made the statement while exchanging new year greetings with journalists at the telecom regulator's main conference hall in Dhaka.
While asked about the problems faced by the mobile operators in expanding their network due to the bar on issuing NOCs (No Objection Certificates) for importing network operating equipment, he the decision has been taken as per the law.
"According to the law, the BTRC can cancel their licences or appoint administrators if mobile operators fail to pay their dues," he said.
Earlier, on December 19 last year, Telenor Group – the majority of Grameenphone's shares – served a legal notice to Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid seeking arbitration to resolve its dispute with the telecom regulator.
Regarding the notice, Jahurul Haque said the agreement was made between Telenor and the BTRC, not between the governments of the two countries.
Jahurul Haque further said the spectrum used by the operators is low compared to the volume of their subscribers, which can also be the cause of sufferings.
Asked if the prevailing relation between the BTRC and the operators will be a problem in implementing 5G technology at the end of 2020, he said the telecom regulator has good relations with the operators and there will be no problem in introducing the new technology.
Earlier, the BTRC had sent letters to the posts and telecommunications ministry, seeking permission to appoint administrators for overseeing the operations of Grameenphone and Robi.
The two operators are yet to pay dues of Tk12,579 crore and Tk867.24 crore respectively, as per the audit claims of the BTRC. However, both operators have challenged the audit claim in court.
In November last year, the Appellate Division ordered Grameenphone to pay the BTRC Tk2,000 crore out of its dues within the next three months.
However, the High Court in December delayed its ruling over an interim injunction plea made by Robi.
The BTRC chairman also presented the achievements of telecom sectors in the last one year at the meeting.
Among others, BTRC Commissioner (spectrum) Md Aminul Hasan and Senior Assistant Director (media) Md Jakir Hossain Khan, were also present at the meeting.