BTRC warns subscribers as it is going to shut down Citycell

31 Jul 2016, 21:46

NTV Online

Dhaka: Citycell, the country’s oldest mobile phone operator, is going to be shut down anytime for its repeated failures to clear its outstanding amount of Tk 477.51 crore in government revenue.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood confirmed UNB that the BTRC may shut down the mobile phone operator anytime.

The BTRC on Sunday also issued a notification asking the subscribers of Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Ltd (Citycell) to shift to alternative operator’s services by 16 August 2016.

It also said the BTRC may take the legal action over the cancellation of frequency allocation and shut down the operational activities of Citycell.

Sources at the Posts and Telecommunications Division said the division has recently given verbal directive to the BTRC to shut down the Citycell as it has failed to live up to its promises in clearing the outstanding.

On 27 July last, the BTRC decided to issue the notification asking Citycell subscribers to switch to alternative services by 16 August next.

According to the notification signed by BTRC director (licensing) MA Taleb Hasan, the government owes a total of Tk 477.51 crore outstanding in various forms including spectrum renewal fee (2G mobile operator license), annual license fee, annual spectrum fees, revenue sharing, social responsibility fund and VAT, to the government.

It said the BTRC served legal notice to Citycell asking to pay the outstanding, but the mobile operator has refrained from paying the outstanding breaking its own promises.

The notification said, ‘To continue operational activities not paying the outstanding government revenue goes against the terms and conditions of the license and clear violation of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Act 2001. In this situation, the BTRC has the authority to cancel Cellular Mobile Phone Operator License and Radio Communications Equipment License of PBTL (Citycell).’

‘So, the BTRC may take the final decision regarding legal actions any time to cancel frequency allocation and operational activities of PBTL (Citycell). Under the circumstances, the subscribers of PBTL (Citycell) are given time until 16 August 2016 to switch to alternative services,’ it added.

The notification said Citycell got its cellular mobile phone operator license renewed with 8.82 megahertz frequency on 7 August 2012.

According to statistics available on the BTRC website, there were only 0.702 million subscribers of Citycell till the end of June last.