Grameenphone and Robi termed the telecom regulator’s move to partially block their bandwidth since last Thursday ‘inappropriate’ and ‘illegal’.
According to the Bangladesh Telecom-munication Regulatory Commission’s audit claim, Grameenphone has Tk 12,579.95 crore pending and Robi Tk 867.24 crore. Subsequently, the BTRC has blocked 30 percent of the bandwidth capacity of the leading telecom company Grameenphone and 15 percent of Robi.
Both the operators disputed the claim and sought arbitration last month to resolve the dispute. But the telecom regulator’s top brass said there is no scope for arbitration in the existing telecom law.
Subsequently, the operator urged the BTRC to withdraw the directives and cooperate in resolving the “disputed” audit demand issue through a constructive arbitration process under the arbitration act.
The two operators, who happen to be the top two in the market, have 12.25 crore subscribers between them. “Arbitration could be a process to resolve disputes and we are also in favour of that. But under the current act there is no provision. So, we need to go by the law and take action in line with that.”
BTRC is now proposing the government to include the arbitration procedure when the telecom act will be amended. However, Robi said there is a specific act for arbitration that can amicably solve the problem.
Robi also said the BTRC has set an unprecedented example by resorting to such an extreme measure to press home its demands based on audit that defies all rationale. However, the BTRC sources said they will neither accept nor reject Grameenphone’s request for arbitration to resolve the disputed audit claim.
Terming the BTRC’s move illegal, GP chief executive officer Michael Foley said that they sought court intervention against the ‘unconscionable’ decision of the regulator. Foley mentioned that the BTRC’s move to cut bandwidth capacity of GP was shocking and surprising to them.
BTRC chairman Jahurul Haque, however, rejected the GP’s plea for resolving the issue under arbitration law. ‘There is no such scope in the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Act 2001 under which it operates,’ Jahurul commented on the GP plea.