Regulator slaps Grameenphone with $36.5m fine over VoIP

15 Aug 2008

Bangladesh's biggest phone company Grameenphone has been fined 36.5 million dollars for using the internet to divert overseas calls from the state-owned network.

An AFP report also said the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission had fined the private company for providing connectivity to third parties using VoIP technology.

A statement from the commission said the technology 'is illegal and unlawful and caused revenue loss to the government.'

Under Bangladeshi law, international calls are licensed to the state-owned Bangladesh Telecommunications Company, the AFP report said. All international traffic must pass through its network.

The system ensures that hundreds of millions of dollars in tariffs are paid to the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board, but the internet technology allowed Grameenphone to bypass that.

The company was fined $24.5 million in October 2007 for a similar offense.

Grameenphone last month announced plans to list on Bangladesh's two main stock exchanges in what will be the country's biggest flotation.

The firm is 62% owned by Norwegian telecom company Telenor and 38% owned by local Grameen Telecom.

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