BTRC warns Teletalk of operation halt over fine non-payment

HM Murtuza | Published: 21:27, Oct 22,2017 | Updated: 22:33, Oct 22,2017

 
 

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission on Sunday warned the state-owned mobile phone operator, Teletalk, of operation suspension for non-payment of penalty that was imposed in 2016.
The telecom regulator gave the warning in a letter issued on Sunday asking the operator to deposit the fine of Tk 67,61,200 within seven days.
The penalty was imposed due to Teletalk’s failure to block more than 1,500 SIM cards, used for terminating illegal VoIP calls, within the stipulated time.
Although the regulator issued a couple of letters to the mobile network operator in this regard, Teletalk refrained from paying the fine, prompting the operator to take tough stance.
As per the telecom rules, mobile operators are bound to block a SIM card within two hours that would be detected by the BTRC’s SIM Box Detection System for using illegal VoIP calls.
In May 2016, BTRC imposed Tk 50.24 lakh fine on Teletalk for the operator’s failure to block 1,256 SIM cards within the stipulated time after detection by the regulator during January-April 2016 period.
The telecom regulator in September 2016 imposed Tk 17.37 lakh fine on the operator on the same ground for not blocking 283 SIM cards between April 9 and May 24 last year.
Apart from this, another Tk 4.51 lakh was slapped on the operator in November last year for its failure to block 54 more SIM cards within two hours.
Of the total Tk 72.12 lakh penalty, Teletalk deposited only Tk 4.51 lakh, while the rest Tk 67.61 lakh is yet to be paid.
BTRC for the last instance issued a letter in May this year that asked the operator to clear the amount within seven days.
Sunday’s letter also mentioned that there was instance of refraining from non-cooperation by the operator including not issuing any no objection certificate and approval for none-payment of fine.
As other mobile phone operators— Robi and Grameenphone— have already paid penalty which were imposed on the same ground, Teletalk has to clear the amount as well, a senior official of the commission told New Age on Sunday.
Earlier in September and October this year, BTRC refrained from cooperating with Robi Axiata for couple of weeks for non-payment of Tk 20,400 fine that was
imposed on the operator on the same ground.
Robi also paid Tk 9,200 fine that was imposed on Airtel Bangladesh, already merged with Robi.
After the BTRC’s initiative to go tough against the mobile phone operators for non-payment of fines related to illegal SIM card blocking, leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone paid the penalty money that was imposed on the operator on the same ground. 

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