The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has initiated a move to form a committee to resolve dispute with mobile phone company Citycell regarding its dues to the government following a court order.
The telecom regulator on Sunday sent a letter to the posts and telecommunications ministry seeking the name of ministry representative of the committee, said officials concerned.
The director general of Spectrum Management will represent the BTRC in the committee as the dues of Citycell are related to spectrum allocation, they said.
The BTRC claimed that it allotted 10MHz spectrum in CDMA band to the operator while Citycell claimed that it did not receive the entire allotment.
A five-judge Appellate Division bench headed by chief justice SK Sinha on November 3 asked the BTRC to form a three-member committee, led by University of Asia Pacific vice-chancellor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, to settle the dispute between Citycell and the BRTC regarding the dues within one month since receipt of copy of the apex court order.
The BTRC and Citycell are in dispute over the ‘admitted amount’ of dues where the regulator was claiming Tk 477 crore while he operator was claiming it to be around Tk 290 crore.
The regulator asked the operator to pay two-third of the total dues, around Tk 318, by October 21 but Citycell paid Tk 130 crore claiming the amount is two-third of the ‘admitted amount’.
The BTRC on October 21 suspended Citycell operations claiming the operator failed to pay the money in time.
Later, Citycell filed a petition to the Appealed Division on October 24 and the AD ordered the BTRC to reinstate operation immediately and asked the mobile operator to pay another Tk 100 crore by November 19. Both the parties complied with the AD order.
As the first mobile telecom operator in Bangladesh, Citycell started its operation in 1993 using CDMA technology.
The operator intended to move to the widely-used GSM technology, but the commission rejected its proposal on the ground that the company had a huge amount of dues.
According to the company’s web site, Singapore’s SingTel owns 44.54-per cent shares of Citycell while Pacific Motors Ltd owns 37.95-per cent and Far East Telecom owns 17.51-per cent stake in the company.
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