Friday, June 21, 2024

BTRC seals off National Telecom

Reopens two PSTN companies
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission on Tuesday sealed off the National Telecom Ltd for its suspected involvement in illegal voice over internet protocol business and reopened the switch rooms of two private landline operators.
The commission shut down the operation of RanksTel on March 19 and of Dhaka Phone on March 15 for their suspected involvement in illegal VoIP business.
The commission in association with the law enforcers raided the National Telecom Ltd office at Mohakhali in Dhaka and shut down all operations in the evening, the commission’s chairman retired major general Zia Ahmed told New Age on Tuesday.
‘We found big differences between the call volumes of National Telecom between the days when raids against illegal VoIP were going on and the time before,’ he said. ‘The call volumes before March 14 was on an average 23 lakh minutes and after the drive had begun, the volume came down to 70,000 minutes a day. We have sealed off its office for its suspected involvement in illegal VoIP business.’
The law enforcers did not arrest any officials as the officials managed to escape, Zia Ahmed said on Tuesday. ‘The commission will file a case against the top executives of the company tomorrow.’
The National Telecom Ltd, which received BTRC licence on September 23, 2007, has 1,38,266 subscribers.
The National Telecom project director retired colonel Asghar Quadri told New Age he had heard of the raid but declined comments.
The commission shut down the operation of PSTN operator WorldTel on March 17 and of the People’s Telecom on March 21 for their suspected involvement in illegal VoIP business. Thousands of subscribers of the PSTN operators faced problems because of the commission move.
The commission officials on Tuesday reopened the switch rooms of RanksTel and Dhaka Phone, according to executives of the operators.
Dhaka Phone’s senior engineer Mohammad Ali told New Age the commission team had reopened the switch room and allowed them to resume operation. ‘We resumed our services about 5:30pm.’
A top executive of the Ranks Telecom Ltd, brand-named RanksTel, told New Age the commission had reopened the switch room but it became difficult for them to get back in operation as the technical executives were still in jail.
Three RanksTel executives, including its general manager (technical) Kamruzzaman, deputy general manager (sales and customer services) Karim Iqbal Bhuiyan and deputy general manager (technical) Mominur Rahman Chowdhury, were sent to jail on Saturday, according to court sources.
‘We have important subscribers such as hospitals, corporate offices and banks and they will all suffer because of the commission’s high-handedness,’ the RanksTel executive said.
Four of the 13 PSTN operators in Bangladesh had more than 5.5 lakh, out of the total 17,18,675, subscribers by the end of February. RanksTel had 3,00,782 subscribers, People’s Telecom 16,163, Dhaka Telephone Company Ltd which is brand-named Dhaka Phone 77,765 and WorldTel 14,261.
The commission chairman said legal battle against the operators would continue. ‘If the operators fail to explain their deeds, actions will be taken in keeping with law.’
According to the Telecom Act 2001, imprisonment or penalty up to Tk 10 lakh or both, may be awarded if anyone is found involved in such practice.
The commission earlier formed a six-member committee, led by its commissioner Aliwardy Khandaker, to further investigate the operator’s involvement in illegal VoIP business.
The commission chairman said after the recent drives, international call termination through legal channels jumped to more than 51 crore minutes a day from three crore minutes before March 14.
Zia Ahmed also said they would conduct raid on other PSTN operators, including Telebarta Ltd which has 56,424 subscribers and Jalalabad Telecom Ltd which has 10,900 subscribers. ‘We think the operators took licences only to run illegal VoIP business.’

Courtesy of NewAgebd

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