BTRC to audit every major telco in Bangladesh

Dylan Bushell-Embling
31 Mar 2011

BTRC has revealed plans to audit all the nation's major telecom service providers for any sign of creative book-keeping to hold back revenue for the government.

Initially, the nation's top two operators, Grameenphone and Banglalink will be examined, The Daily Star reported. But the audit will eventually cover all mobile and PSTN companies, ISPs, exchange and international gateway operators and Wimax providers.

The audit, the first of its kind for the BTRC, will look for any financial regularities and particularly those that could impact the revenue telcos share with the government.

It comes the year that Grameenphone, Bangalink and two other operators' licenses are due for renewal.

Separately, BTRC has promised to review a ban on five of nine PSTN operators that had been caught providing international VoIP services without the state's permission, Financial Expressreported.

RanksTel, PeoplesTel, Dhaka Phone, National Telecom and WorldTel have had their operating licenses suspended since March 2010 for using VoIP equipment to route international calls through the internet.

Under Bangladeshi law, international voice traffic must pass through state-owned Bangladesh Telecommunications Company's network, and operators must pay a tariff to the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board. Grameenphone was fined over similar allegations in 2008.

The suspended operators have been complaining of incurring heavy losses from operating costs and interest on loans while being unable to operate.

The operators had a combined 689,000 subscribers before the shut-down, with RanksTel accounting for 300,000 of these. Bangladesh had a population of 162.2 million in 2009, according to World Bank, but in that same year had a teledensity of just 29%.

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