Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) today said there is no scope for arbitration under the existing law over its action taken against the two major telecom operators.
On Thursday, BTRC partially blocked the bandwidth capacity of Grameenphone and Robi for non-payment of dues detected in audits -- a drastic step that ultimately hurts the 12.25 crore subscribers of the two operators.
According to the BTRC’s audit claim, Grameenphone has Tk 12,579.95 crore pending and Robi Tk 867.24 crore.
However, Grameenphone is in favour of arbitration, and therefore, it is proposing the government for an amendment in the telecommunication law, BTRC Chaiman Md Jahurul Haque told The Daily Star this afternoon.
BTRC is monitoring customers' suffering and it will decide on the next course of action in its next meeting, Haque said.
GP's press conference
Terming the blocking of bandwidth “inappropriate and illegal”, the market leader telecom operator said regulator's directive adds burden to the customers and local business communities with investors and IIG operators.
At a press conference in Dhaka, Grameenphone authorities 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 2001.
Grameenphone had served a Notice of Arbitration on the BTRC inviting the regulator to a constructive arbitration process to resolve the disputed audit claim. BTRC has remained silent, GP said.
The directive issued by the BRTC is not addressed to Grameenphone but the telecom regulator has publicly stated that the bandwidth capacity will remain blocked until Grameenphone pay a “disputed audit demand”, GP said.
The BTRC directive is therefore specially designed to put pressure on the operator by negatively impacting customer experience on the operator’s network, said Michael Foley, chief executive officer of Grameenphone.
He said that this directive would also have a negative consequence for local business communities and for the affected IIGs as they would lose potential revenue and business opportunities for a situation totally outside their control.
The operator asserted that it was very unfortunate that directives to the IIG operators were given in an attempt by the regulator to pressure GP to pay a disputed audit claim.
The telecom operator believes that this move is illegal, and the company will seek intervention of the court against this unconscionable decision of the regulator, Grameenphone said.
Foley said, the directive adds a burden to Bangladeshi people and businesses.