Grameenphone chief executive officer Yasir Azman on Sunday said that the operator feared that it would run out of SIM cards soon as the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission refrained from approving new number block to GP.
‘It will fail to board new customers if new number block is not issued to the operator or approval for recycling existing numbers is denied,’ Yasir said on Sunday in reply to a question at an event held at the Westin Hotel in the capital.
The operator needs 50,000 new SIM cards per day to meet market demand, he said, adding that the existing customers of the operator would not face any problem due to the reason.
He, however, expected that it would be possible to reach a solution in this regard soon.
On February 2, Yasir said, ‘The price of SIM cards of the operator may see an abnormal hike in the next few weeks due to a supply shortage.’
He said that the operator would not be able to sell any new SIM card within a week to the market as GP had exhausted all the numbers which were in its hands.
The telecom regulator also denied the operator permission to recycle its existing 30 lakh SIMs, thus resulting in a SIM card shortage, the GP CEO said.
Yasir said that the operator had engaged in discussion with the regulator to end the ongoing regulatory embargo it had been
facing for the last several months.
GP has been in a tussle with the BTRC over Tk 12,579.95 crore in audit claims.
For the last instance, the Appellate Division on November 24 last year instructed the operator to pay Tk 2,000 crore in three months ending on February 24.
Later the mobile phone operator filed a review petition with the Appellate Division where it requested the court to allow GP to pay Tk 575 crore in twelve monthly instalments before the settlement of the dispute.
Replying to a question whether the operator’s network expansion was hampered or service quality would deteriorate due to the regulatory sanction, he mentioned that the customers would not face much problem as it had built the network in last 22 years.
Asked whether there was any relation between the lower dividend declaration and the BTRC’s audit claim, Azman said that the company declared dividend in line with its dividend policy and there was no relation between the two issues.
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