May 7, 2009

New BTRC chief questions fines on telcos

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman has called into question the fining of telecoms operators during the 2007-2008 stint of the military-installed caretaker government. Allegations are there that the fines were reaslied forcefully from telcos during the [military installed] caretaker government, Zia Ahmed said at a press conference at telecommunications ministry on Wednesday. A maximum of Tk 3 lakh can be realised under existing rules, he pointed out.

If the ordinance now being reviewed is passed in parliament, the telecoms regulator will have more powers, Ahmed, a retired brigadier general, also said. He was asked by a reporter why the BTRC drive against illegal VoIP business has gone into hibernation after the new government took office. "It is not right to create any instability by policing. The anti-illegal VOIP drive is on. Over one lakh mobile SIMs have been already blocked. It has sent out a signal to the operators", Ahmed, a former army Signals officer, responded.

The Bangladesh Telephone and Telegraph Board, now BTCL, launched its operation against illegal VoIP business in Dec 2006. A committee formed by RAB, BTRC, Telatalk and BTCL is operating against illegal VoIP business, he added. The BTRC realised Tk 838 crore in fines from GrameenPhone, Banglalink, AKTEL and CityCell after catching them running illegal VOIP operation.

GrameenPhone paid Tk. 168 crore and Tk 250 crore in fines in two times, CityCell Tk 150 crore, AKTEL Tk 145 crore and Banglalink Tk 125 crore. Private land-phone company RanksTel was also fined Tk 15 crore.



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