• Friday, Dec 02, 2022
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

GP fears looming crisis amid regulatory disputes

  • Published at 05:22 pm February 3rd, 2020
web-grameenphone

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has ordered GP to pay Tk2,000 crore by February 24 as the installment of Tk12, 445 crore audit claim of BTRC

Leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone is apprehending a looming crisis in providing new connections with quality network should the regulatory disputes with the government are not settled within weeks.

GP Chief Executive Officer Yasir Azman at a media briefing on Monday said the carrier would run out of new SIMs within two weeks and the service quality could face major challenges if the regulatory approval for network expansion was not made available within the next four weeks.

“This is a critical time for GP. A huge number of customers and businesses are related and depended on our network in so many ways. If we face any big trouble then the people of the country will suffer,” said Yasir, who took the office last month as first Bangladeshi CEO at the company.

He said following a bar from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission on import of network equipment and network expansion since July last year, the subscribers were experiencing operational problems.

“Our plan was to build around 2,000 towers last year which we could not materialize. We need some more towers in the capital  but everything is halted. If the situation continues for another 3-4 weeks, then there could be major problems in providing good services,” he explained.

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has ordered GP to pay Tk2,000 crore by February 24 as the installment of Tk12, 445 crore audit claim of BTRC.

Failure to do so could result in BTRC taking measures—including appointing administrators at Grameenphone.

GP, however, filed a review petition to the Appellate Division last month saying the operator can afford to pay Tk575 crore within the stipulated time.

“Now we want to get things back to the discussion table. I have reached out to the government high-ups and their response was positive. However, as the matter is pending before the court the government will wait for the final verdict. GP will also have full faith in the judicial system of the country,” he said.

Yasir said almost 3 million numbers could be renewed from the existing number series but the regulator was not allowing this to the operator.

“The government is planning to launch 5G within next two years. We are also taking preparations for that. But with such a scenario, it is difficult to focus on 5G as we need much more better network expansion for 4G. Our plan is to set up 4,000 towers by the end of this year with 90% coverage for 4G network,” he said.

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