The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has cancelled licences (registration certificates) of 157 call centres as the firms failed to renew their licences in accordance with telecom rules.
BTRC licensing department director MA Taleb Hossain recently issued a notice, declaring the licences null and void.
The telecom regulator also asked the entities to refrain from providing any services under the invalid licences.
Before the licence cancellation, the telecom regulator in September last year warned 160 call centres that their licences would be annulled if they failed to renew those within the next 30 days.
Following the issuance of the BTRC notice, only three entities renewed their licences, while the rest 157 firms failed to do so.
The list of the defaulting 157 call centres was published on the BTRC web site stating ‘renewal of a call centre licence is a must before the expiry of its validity under licensing conditions’.
‘The licences of the entities have become invalid and ineffective as they failed to renew their licences,’ the BTRC notice said.
On the ground, conducting any activities under the licences will be illegal and punishable act under the Telecommunication Regulatory Act, 2001, it said.
According to BTRC data, 203 call centres were operating in the country before the licence annulment of the 157 call centres.
The BTRC in 2013, when there were 197 call centres in the country, changed the licences of call centres into registration certificates in a bid to reduce complexities in opening the business.
The BTRC also set the registration certificate fee for call centre services and business process outsourcing at Tk 5,000 with a validity period of five years.
BTRC officials said the commission had taken the move to ease licensing process and to reduce the commission’s monitoring of the sector.
The government, however, in the BPO Summit 2016 held in July, predicted that earnings from the ICT sector would exceed $1 billion within the term of the present government.
State minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said that the BPO sector began rolling out in 2009 with only 300 employees. The number has risen to 30,000 at present.
The BTRC in early September last year also issued similar warning to 200 internet service providers and only six of them renewed their licences while the rest 184 got their licences cancelled.