Cellcos told to take down border base stations

17 Mar 2006

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has set a three-week deadline for the country’s mobile operators to dismantle their GSM network infrastructure within an eight kilometre radius of the Indian border in an attempt to reduce smuggling and other criminal activity. The BTRC made the shock request in a letter sent on Tuesday to GrameenPhone, Aktel, CityCell and Banglalink, saying that the base stations are ‘too close to the border and emit signals inside Indian territory…It makes communicating from India with anyone in Bangladesh very easy, hindering the anti-smuggling and anti-terrorist operations.’ The operators have, however, strongly opposed what they called the ‘utterly impractical’ directive, stating that the proposed move would lead to a ‘massive legal and sociopolitical backlash’ and cause them to sustain a ‘huge financial loss.’ According to the BTRC, GrameenPhone has 100 base stations within 50 metres and seven kilometres of the Indo-Bangladesh demarcation line, whilst Aktel has installed 23 base stations within the same range, CityCell five and Banglalink three.



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