Published:  01:35 AM, 10 August 2019

BTRC to stop renewing GP, Robi's existing packages

BTRC to stop renewing GP, Robi's existing packages
Supplementing the recent measure to halt approval for any new package of Grameenphone and Robi, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has initiated a move to stop renewing the existing voice and data packages for the two operators. The regulator authority has taken the measures as part of its move to recover Tk 13,446.95 crore (Tk 134.46 billion) in audit claim from the two operators.

A senior BTRC official said that the telecom regulator on Wednesday sent a proposal to the posts and telecommunications ministry for approval to this end. The commission would implement the decision if the ministry once approved the proposal. BTRC made the decision to seek approval from the government in this regard referring to the telecom act's section 46 in a commission meeting on July 25. As per that section, the telecom regulator can cancel the license and appoint an administrator if their response is not satisfactory.

Earlier, the officials of the mobile phone operators have raised their concerns stating that such moves would intensify the sufferings of the customers, who have already been impacted by the regulatory move to stop non-objection certificate issuance including NOC for new packages. Sources said that GP has approval for running around 40 voice and data packages excluding promotional offers while the other operator Robi has approval for operating over 100 packages and offers for the customers now. Usually, the BTRC approves packages for one year and then the operators are allowed running such packages for more than one year subject to intimation to the commission.

BTRC also proposed that the telecom ministry issue show-cause notices to GP and Robi asking why the licenses of the telcos would not be cancelled for breaching telecom act by refraining from paying the regulatory claim. Previously, BTRC demanded Tk 12,579.95 crore from GP as audit claim this year and Tk 867 crore from Robi on the same ground last year. The telecom operators have claimed the regulatory claims faulty and refrained from paying the audit claims. Earlier on July 4, the BTRC had slashed Grameenphone's bandwidth by 30 percent and Robi's by 15 percent for non-payment of the dues -- enough to slow down their internet speed and raise the call drop frequency.

But the block on bandwidth was lifted on July 17 considering the inconvenience it was causing to subscribers and on July 22 BTRC decided not to give any kind of approval to Grameenphone and Robi to roll out new package or service or import network equipment -- to pile on the pressure on the operators to clear their dues.

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