BTRC recommends ministry cancel Citycell’s licence

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:33, Jun 12,2017 | Updated: 00:14, Jun 13,2017

 
 

A file photo shows Citycell headquarters in Dhaka. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has recommended that the posts and telecommunications ministry cancel the licence of out-of-operation mobile phone company Citycell. — New Age photo

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has recommended that the posts and telecommunications ministry cancel the licence of out-of-operation mobile phone company Citycell over payment dispute.
‘The BTRC has made the suggestion as Citycell or Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited violated licensing rules,’ a senior BTRC official told New Age on Monday.
The telecom regulator has found that the operator ‘violated’ licensing clause and court directive and the section 46 of the telecommunication act.
Although the issue of dues of Citycell to the BTRC is pending at the Supreme Court, the court asked the operator to clear other payments regularly, the BSEC official said.
As the operator refrained from making any further payments for the period of October, 2016 to March, 2017, the operator violated court’s order as well, the official said.
The section 46 of the telecommunication act allows the commission to cancel licence of any entity for non-payment of dues, he said.
BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood confirmed that the commission issued a letter to the telecom ministry, recommending it to cancel Citycell’s licence.
At the same time, he said, the regulator might also take initiative to sell spectrum of Citycell in the next auction.
The move of the commission came within one and a half months of issuing a show-cause notice to the mobile phone operator.
On April 26, the telecom regulator issued a notice to Citycell asking the operator to explain why legal action would not be taken against the operator for non-payment of fresh dues for the period of October 2016 to March 2017.
In reply, the operator said to have made Tk 129.27 crore over payment to the BTRC.
The operator has already paid Tk 476.27 crore as spectrum charge, licence fee, revenue sharing and social obligation fund to the telecom regulator for the operator’s dues till the third quarter of 2016, the PBTL said.
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.
Besides, the operator also said, the payments for the BTRC’s claim must be adjusted with the additional Tk 129.27 crore paid by Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited.
The mobile service of Citycell has remained suspended for the last few months following its dispute with the regulator over non-payment of dues worth around Tk 377 crore accumulated till October 2016.
To settle the issue, the court formed a three-member special committee to determine the exact amount of dues of Citycell to the government.
Citycell chief executive officer Mehboob Chowdhury could not be reached over phone.

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