The telecoms regulator will fine Bangladesh’s largest mobile phone operator Grameenphone (GP) for providing wired internet services under its ‘Go Broadband’ venture, reports bdnews24.com
“We have agreed that it was a violation of the law. They will be penalised,” BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood told bdnews24.com.
He said the amount of the fine will be decided on Monday.
A BTRC official, preferring anonymity, said since it was launched two years ago, ‘Go Broadband’ has given Grameenphone revenue worth Tk 300 million.
The operator may be fined the whole amount, he indicated.
A senior BTRC official said that they would soon inform GP about the fine. “We will also set a deadline for payment of the fine,” BTRC Secretary Sarwar Alam told bdnews24.com.
The mobile operator declined to comment saying they are yet to receive ‘any such official communication.’
“We can, however, confirm that the GO Broadband service was started after securing necessary permission from the relevant authorities and within approved partnership structures,” GP’s Head of External Communications Sayed Talat Kamal told bdnews24.com.
In April 2014, GP launched the GO Broadband service in partnership with ISPs, Agni Systems and ADN Telecom.
BTRC officials said they have also decided to penalise the two ISPs.
According to the law, mobile phone operators are not allowed to provide last mile connectivity (services to retail end-users) through optical fibre networks.
Only, ISPs are allowed to do so.
Under the 2G and 3G licensing guidelines, mobile operators can only provide services through mobile phones and modems.
In December 2014, GP signed a deal with state-owned Sonali Bank to provide broadband internet through fibre optic to create an online network for its 551 branches across Bangladesh.
The BTRC move comes after the ISP Association of Bangladesh wrote to the BTRC in February this year that GP was providing broadband internet to the bank through fibre optic network.