Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has decided to impose Tk 2.67 crore in penalty on mobile operator Grameenphone for ‘breaching’ telecommunication rules by installing and using base transceiver stations near border areas without getting regulatory approval.
The telecom regulator imposed the fine last week at a regular commission meeting presided over by its chairman Shahjahan Mahmood, a senior official of the commission told New Age.
The commission would issue a letter to GP soon asking the operator to deposit the penalty money, he said.
As per the findings of the telecom regulator, the country’s largest mobile phone operator has been using 17 mobile phone towers near border areas without getting regulatory approval, the official said.
The mobile phone towers were installed during the years 2014-2016 but, the operator sought regulatory approval afterwards in violation of telecom rules.
Taking no objection certificate from the border security force and permission from the telecom regulator are mandatory for all the mobile phone operators for setting up base stations near border areas, the BTRC official said.
He said that the commission found that the operator did not take any permission from the telecom regulator and the border security force before starting using the base stations near the border areas.
He also said that the regulator had taken the amounts of the top three operators’ earnings from the border-side towers in determining the penalty amount.
A GP statement, however, said, ‘We are not aware of such decision by BTRC and so cannot comment further at this point of time.’
In 2017, the commission imposed Tk 17.33 crore in fine on Banglalink for setting up 109 BTSs near border areas during 2014-16 without getting regulatory approval.
Earlier, in 2016, the telecom regulator had identified the same sort of wrongdoings by Banglalink when the operator sought regulatory approval for 433 mobile phone towers which were set up in 2013.
Although the commission found installation of BTSs near the border areas threatening for the country’s security, it approved Banglalink’s proposal with retrospective effect.
At the same time, the regulator also warned the operator for installation and use of such base stations without regulatory approval.
Airtel, which has recently been merged with Robi, had also done such violation in 2013 by installing towers at 191 sites in the border areas without getting approval from the telecom regulator.
The regulator then warned the operator of financial penalty and gave retrospective approval to the BTSs it had installed.
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