Citycell claims Tk 129cr overpayment to BTRC

HM Murtuza | Published: 23:01, May 30,2017


The mobile phone operator Citycell has claimed that the entity has already paid an excess Tk 129.27 crore to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission for different charges and fees of the regulator.
The operator came with the claim last week following a showcause letter of the telecom regulator to Citycell.
On April 26 this year, the regulator in a letter asked Citycell as to why legal action would not be taken against the operator for non-payment of fresh dues to the commission for the period of October 2016 to March 2017, a BTRC official said.
The telecom regulator in the notice also asked the operator to explain in thirty days why legal action would not be taken against the operator on the same ground.
The mobile service of Citycell has remained suspended for the last few months following a dispute with the regulator over non-payment of dues worth around Tk 377 crore accumulated till October 2016, a BTRC official said.
The Citycell reply issued by its chief executive officer Mehboob Chowdhury said that the operator has already paid Tk 476.27 crore as spectrum charge, license fee, revenue sharing and social obligation fund to the telecom regulator for the operator’s dues till the third quarter of 2016.
The operator, however, in its letter also mentioned that the mobile phone company’s dues to the BTRC was Tk 346.99 crore for the period, meaning that an additional Tk 129.27 crore has already been paid by the operator to the telecom regulator.
‘Payments for the BTRC’s claim must be adjusted against the additional Tk 129.27 crore paid by the Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited,’ the latter said.
A BTRC official, however, said that the operators have so far paid Tk 255 crore to the regulator against BTRC’s claim of Tk 377 crore.
The Citycell letter also said that as the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh formed a special committee for resolution of disputes between Citycell and BTRC, any claim by BTRC may affect the adjudication process of the dispute by the court, it added.
The letter also asked the telecom regulator to withdraw its show cause letter in this regard.
A commissioner of BTRC told New Age on Monday, ‘Although a special committee was working to settle the dispute, the court asked the operator to pay its dues regularly. So, Citycell’s earlier payments would not be relevant with fresh dues.’
He, however, hoped that the issue would be settled soon once the special committee, which has been asked by the court to find out the actual dues of Citycell to the government, will submit its final report to the court.
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 BTRC rejected its proposal on the ground that the company had a huge amount of dues.
According to the company’s website, Singapore’s SingTel owns 44.54 per cent shares of Citycell while 37.95 per cent belongs to Pacific Motors Ltd and Far East Telecom owns 17.51 per cent stake in the company.

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