RanksTel’s operations shut down in government VoIP crackdown

22 Mar 2010

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on Friday shut down all operations of the country’s largest alternative fixed line telco RanksTel for alleged involvement in illegal VoIP telephony provision, local paper The Daily Star reports, although the company denies the charges. Following raids by the BTRC and the Rapid Action Battalion on RanksTel’s premises, the regulator’s chairman Zia Ahmed told the Star: ‘We have shut down all activities of RanksTel since early Friday after we found huge quantity of VoIP equipment.’ Officials also claimed that they found ‘huge’ anomalies in RanksTel’s call records. RanksTel director Aman Ullah Chowdhury in a written statement denied the allegation of involvement in illegal international call termination through VoIP technology. ‘We do not yet know why the BTRC switched off our network … If it found illegal business being conducted, it could have fined the company as it had done in cases of some mobile phone and PSTN companies,’ he said. He also urged the government to allow the resumption of services for RanksTel’s 288,000 subscribers. ‘The BTRC investigation team and law enforcers did not find any VoIP equipment, yet they sealed our switch room, which is only preventing the development of the local telecom industry,’ the statement continued.

The Financial Express Bangladesh reported on Sunday that the country’s High Court has issued a ruling asking the government to explain its actions in shutting down RanksTel’s operations.

In two other raids on 14 March and 16 March, the BTRC seized VoIP equipment from Dhaka Phone and WorldTel. In August 2009 the regulator claimed it was finally issuing long-overdue IP telephony operating licences to legitimise the country’s ‘grey’ VoIP sector, but no further reports have followed regarding actual concession awards or service launches.

Bangladesh, RanksTel,


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