Mobile phone operators are likely to get relief from paying the government the unused balance in the SIM cards that would be blocked by the telecom regulator for various reasons, especially for illegal voice-over internet protocol calls.
Mobile operators, however, will have to return the unused balance to its owner if claimed, said officials of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
They said that a proposed amendment to the 4G licencing guidelines that would be passed by the telecom regulator in the upcoming commission meeting following instruction from prime minister’s ICT advisor, and posts and telecommunication ministry.
The instruction was made based on a meeting between the mobile phone operators and the government high officials on the proposed 4G licencing guidelines, they said.
As per the BTRC approved draft 4G licencing guidelines, that would be revised, it was mandatory for all the operators to pay the BTRC the remaining balance amount of the identified illegal prepaid VoIP callers and unsuccessful or fake SIM registration of service connection fund at the time of deactivating them.
It was also mentioned in the guidelines drafted earlier that there would not be any rights of the mobile network operators over the forfeited account balance of the illegal VoIP callers.
Whereas, it was also mandatory for the operators to pay the remaining balance of such SIM cards within ten days of the following month.
In case of deactivation of SIM cards for illegal VoIP calls, mobile operators would keep the remaining
balance, while operators would have to pay the balance to its owner, if claimed, for deactivation of SIM cards for any other reason.
Such specification about the unused balance would help the operators, while the government would lose its rights over the forfeited fund, BTRC officials said.
Such initiative might foil another BTRC move to take stand against the mobile phone operators for non-payment of unused balance in the SIM cards which were blocked by the telecom regulator for various reasons.
Country’s leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone, in February this year, deposited Tk 7.33 crore to the telecom regulator against the unused balance in the connections that were blocked between 2008 and 2014
While other operators— Banglalink, Robi, Airtel, Citycell and Teletalk — were yet to pay any fund to the commission in this regard.
Airtel, formerly known as Warid Telecom, has already merged with Robi in November, 2016.
Apart from the unused balance issued, the government acknowledged almost all the issues raised by the mobile phone operators about the 4G licencing guidelines, BTRC officials said.
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