Regulator threatens GP, Robi with licence cancellations

10 Sep 2019

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has sent out notices to GrameenPhone (GP) and Robi Axiata warning the duo that their 2G and 3G concessions could be cancelled in lieu of their unwillingness to pay dues totalling BDT125.80 billion (USD1.46 billion) and BDT8.67 billion, respectively, which were detected in audits and are currently disputed by the two operators. GP and Robi have been given 30 days to respond to the notices, with GP saying in a statement: ‘This notice is unjustified and yet another step by the regulator to refuse our invitation to seek an amicable solution related to a disputed audit claim … We will take necessary measures to protect the rights of the company, our shareholders and customers against unwarranted actions by the regulator.’ Due to the impasse with the BTRC, the two operators are currently banned from getting approvals for new services and packages and cannot import equipment to maintain their networks. In July 2019 the BTRC slashed GP’s bandwidth by 30% and Robi’s by 15% for the non-payment of dues, but the block was lifted by mid-July as it was causing issues to subscribers.

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