The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has lifted the bandwidth restriction on Grameenphone and Robi, two major mobile phone operators in the country, considering the suffering of the cellphone users.
The commission on Wednesday decided to lift the partial bandwidth restriction, which had been imposed 10 days ago over dues.
However, the regulator has decided not to issue any fresh No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to Grameenphone and Robi before they clear their dues to the government.
“We will soon stop issuing NOCs to them [GP and Robi]. Let us see what happens next,” BTRC Chairman Md Jahurul Haque 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.
At a press conference on Wednesday morning, the BTRC chairman said Sajeeb Wazed Joy, prime minister’s ICT adviser, had asked for cancelling the decision to reduce bandwidth capacity as it ultimately affected customers.
Sources said the operators had a meeting with Joy on Wednesday and urged him to take an initiative to solve the issue.
Following Joy’s request, the BTRC withdrew the restriction on Wednesday night.
Earlier, in spite of repeated requests from the operators, the BTRC had refused to withdraw the restriction until getting the payable from the two companies.
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 BTRC directed all International Internet Gateway operators to cut down 30 percent bandwidth of the total usage of Grameenphone and 15 percent for Robi over outstanding dues.
This decision badly affected the operators’ business as mobile phone users were facing problems in digital platform-based businesses and internet-based calls and other services.