BTRC fines five handset importers Tk 31 lakh over illegal sales

HM Murtuza | Published: 23:06, Aug 19,2020


The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has fined five mobile phone importers and manufacturers a total of Tk 31 lakh for selling handsets at a number of outlets without taking approval from the telecom regulator.

The handset manufacturers are Fair Electronics, Fair Distribution, Electra Mobile, Solar Electra Bangladesh and Access Telecom.

The BTRC slapped the fine at its commission meeting last week, with its chairman Md Jahurul Haque in the chair, an official of the commission told New Age on Wednesday.

The decision was taken based on an inspection carried out at four mobile handset outlets in Jaipurhat where an inspection team of the commission found 172 illegal Samsung and Xiaomi handsets on the premises.

The market value of the illegal handsets was estimated at Tk 25,86,255.

Apart from slapping the fine, the commission has also decided to ask the entities to deposit 50 per cent of the 172 handsets’ value to the BTRC to get back the handsets.

Without mentioning the names of the handset importers and manufacturers, BTRC vice-chairman Subrata Roy Maitra told New Age that the commission had fined a number of entities for illegally selling handsets in Jaipurhat.

A number of them have admitted to their crimes while others did not, he said.

The commission also issued show-cause notices to the entities for selling the handsets without taking approval from the commission, said Subrata. ‘No one would be spared for their wrongdoings,’ he warned.

Of the five entities, Fair Electronics and Electra Mobile have admitted to selling illegal handsets while Fair Distribution, Solar Electra Bangladesh and Access Telecom did not.

Based on the documents collected from the handset show rooms in Jaipurhat, the commission has found that the entities are involved in the selling of illegal handsets.

On the basis of its findings, Fair Electronics and Electra Mobile were fined Tk 5 lakh each as they admitted to illegally selling the items.

The other three entities were fined Tk 7 lakh each for selling the handsets without the telecom regulatory commission’s approval.

Mohammed Mesbah Uddin, chief marketing officer of Fair Group, the parent company of Fair Electronics and Fair Distribution, told New Age, ‘The commission only informed us that some IMEI numbers of handsets were missing.’

‘We are not informed about imposition of any penalty,’ said Mesbah.

Explaining the issue, the CMO said, ‘Usually we upload the IMEI number onto the system once it was generated.’

‘Somehow, a few IMEI numbers were not uploaded,’ he said, adding that they were working on identifying how the mistake had happened.

Fair Electronics is the manufacturing partner of Samsung consumer electrons in Bangladesh and Fair Distribution is the national distributor of Samsung mobiles in Bangladesh.

Electra Mobile and Solar Electra Bangladesh are the distributing partners of Xiaomi handsets in the country.

Prior to slapping the fines on the five vendors, the commission had cancelled the vendor enlistment certificates of a number of entities over the same charges.

It also slapped an administrative penalty on Al Amin Brothers for the same reason.

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