Citycell found itself in a frequency dispute with the regulator as the mobile operator did not receive as much radio frequency as it paid for.
In August, the operator got its cellular phone (2G) licence renewed for the next 15 years after paying Tk 333 crore for 10 Megahertz frequency in the 850 MHz band.
The total price was Tk 450 crore at Tk 45 crore for per MHz spectrum.
The operator was supposed to pay the remaining amount in the next instalment.
But while receiving the licence, the operator found the regulator allocated 8.82 MHz to it.
Citycell officials said the company received a demand note from the regulator to submit Tk 450 crore for 10 MHz frequency and it did so.
But the regulator finally allocated 8.82 MHz spectrum in Dhaka and 6.30 MHz outside the capital.
However, the operator instantly requested the regulator to provide the 10 MHz it asked for.
Mehboob Chowdhury, chief executive officer of Citycell, said they will pay the rest amount after getting the entire frequency.
He said, “We have submitted our representation to the BTRC to solve the problem and I firmly believe the regulator is making all efforts to ensure the allocation through a transparent process.”
But officials at Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) said they do not have enough frequency in the 850MHz band to allocate to Citycell.
BTRC Chairman Sunil Kanti Bose said they have told Citycell to adjust the extra amount it had paid with the existing frequency. Bose said, when they will have allocable frequency, they will give it to Citycell.
But the operator did not agree to adjust the amount and requested the regulator to rearrange the frequency band as a number of fixed-phone licences were cancelled earlier and enough frequency was idle in the 850MHz band.
In 2010, the BTRC scrapped five fixed-phone licences for their alleged involvement in illegal call termination business but later the licences were returned.
But so far only one private land phone operator took back its licence and frequency and came back to operations last year.
Citycell is a joint venture between Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Ltd — with 55 percent stake — and Singapore-based SingTel with the rest. The company is the country’s lone CDMA (code division multiple access) operator with around 16 lakh subscribers and a 1.64 percent market share. There are six mobile operators in Bangladesh.
-With The Daily Star input