Bangladesh's oldest cellco set to lose license

25 Oct 2016

Bangladesh's oldest mobile operator Citycell is on track to losing its license after failing to pay its required license and related fees.

The CDMA-based Citycell had its spectrum revoked last week, and now the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is seeking permission from the government to revoke the operator's license, the Daily Starreported.

Citycell owes dues of 4.77 billion taka ($60.8 million), which include unpaid spectrum renewal fees, license fees, late fees and value-added tax.

The Supreme Court had ordered Citycell to pay two thirds of the amount owed by October 19, but the operator only managed to pay 1.3 billion taka, and its spectrum was accordingly revoked the next day.

The BTRC has been advising Citycell customers since the end of July to switch to another operator in preparation for the shutdown.

Citycell commenced operations in 1993, but found itself relegated to a niche player as GSM outmatched CDMA by popularity. At its peak in 2011 the operator had around 1.9 million customers.

Singtel is the largest shareholder in Citycell with a 44.54% share, while Far East Telecom has 17.51% of the company. These shareholders have been attempting to sell Citycell's license for several years but have not found any buyers.

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