Telecom sector earns Tk 122bn in 3 years

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Telecom sector earns Tk 122bn in 3 years

The telecom sector earned Taka 121.90 billion for the national exchequer in the past three years of the incumbent government with officials saying the amount is Taka 73.09 billion more than the earnings during the entire five-year tenure of the past BNP-led regime.

Bangladesh Teleco-mmunication Regula-rity Commission (BTRCI) officials said they collected over Taka 60 billion during 2011 through issuing licences and spectrum allocations to the mobile phone and other telecom operators.

“The earnings from the telecom sector during the 2002-2008 period of the past government were Taka 48.81 billion,” BTRC chairman Major General (retd) Zia Ahmed told BSS.

He said during the current fiscal alone the BTRC collected Taka 31.84 billion from four mobile phone operators as the first installment of 2G (second generation) licence renewal fees and “we expect to get another Taka 40.89 billion in next two installments from the 2G renewal”.

In November last, the four mobile phone operators have paid Taka 31.84 billion, 49 percent of the total amount, as their licences were expired. The total amount is Taka 72.73 billion for the 2G renewal.

“We may get an additional amount of Taka 7.78 billion as VAT from GrameenPhone, Banglalink and Robi as they didn’t pay 15 percent VAT; if we could win a court battle with these mobile phone operators we would get the amount. The issue is now pending before the High Court,” the BTRC chief said.

He said the BTRC also expected to fetch an additional amount of Taka 30.34 billion from GrameenPhone (GP), an amount which the mobile phone operator was found to have dodged during the first ever audit by the regulatory body.

“The issue, too, however, is now pending before the High Court for a decision,” Ahmed said.

The BTRC chairman also expected that they could fetch approximately Taka 80 billion from the 3G (third generation) mobile phone services auction in the coming 2012 as the process of appointing consultants to formulate 3G licence guideline and policy were underway.

Bangladesh witnessed a massive growth of mobile phone users in the past three years with 82.5 million people currently using the cellphones while the figure was 46 million at the beginning of 2009.

The number of internet users also grew by 21 million in the past three years as the number of users currently is 25 million.

“The number is being cumulatively increased as the mobile phone and other operators are expanding their internet services massively,” Ahmed said.

He said the cent percent population of 99 percent of the national territory of the country now came under the mobile phone networks while preparations were underway to launch the country’s first ever satellite into the orbit.

“The financial aspect of the satellite ‘Bangabandhu’ project has been given approval and the consultant appointment process is at the final stage,” Ahmed said. —BSS

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