BTRC to lift Robi, GP bandwidth block

Bangla Tribune Report
Published : 17:49, Jul 17, 2019 | Updated : 18:11, Jul 17, 2019

The telecom regulatory commission will soon be lifting its block on the bandwidth of leading mobile operators Robi and Grameenphone.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) chief Md. Jahurul Haque made the announcement on Wednesday (Jul 17).

However, the operators will not be given the no objection certificate (NOC) from the regulatory body, he said.

The move came a day after the prime minister’s ICT Affairs Advisor Sajib Wazed Joy met with officials at the Posts and Telecommunications Division on Tuesday (Jul 16).

On Jul 4, the BTRC partially reduced the bandwidth capacities of GP and Robi as the two operators failed to pay their due amounts to the government.

BTRC instructed the country’s five International Internet Gateways (IIGs) to limit GP’s bandwidth capacity at 144gbps (gigabits per second) and Robi’s at 125gbps.

Reducing the bandwidth has significantly hampered the services provided by the companies causing slow internet and a rise in call drops.

In 2016, BTRC, after auditing the two companies, claimed Tk125.79 billion from GP and Tk 8.67 billion from Robi in taxes, and late fees that accumulated over the years.

In another development, the commission is likely to get the VAT registration in a bid to resolve the ongoing dispute over revenue sharing and other payment of mobile phone operators.

The BTRC last week refused to take payment, amounting to around Tk10 billion from the mobile phone operators for April-June quarter as the operator wanted to pay excluding VAT.

The mobile phone companies said as the BTRC did not have any VAT registration, the operators were not allowed to pay the VAT amount to the telecom regulator.

According to the Value-Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act, 2012, all service suppliers must have VAT registration, which includes the BTRC. The VAT rate is 15%.