Amid a year-long dispute with two major mobile operators, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has decided to audit Banglalink, the third-largest mobile operator in the country.
The telecom regulator on Monday published a circular looking for eligible firms interested in conducting the audit.
According to the circular, the audit will be conducted on regulatory and legal, technical, financial and other related matters since its inception in 1996 until December 31, 2019.
In the circular, the telecom regulator said as per the provisions of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulation Act 2001, the regulator had the obligation to conduct an Information System Audit of its licensed telecommunication operators.
Therefore, it intends to conduct an Information System Audit on Banglalink.
The government issued the cellular mobile phone operator license to Sheba Telecom Limited on November 11, 1996, which was later renamed as Banglalink Digital Communications Limited on February 10, 2005.
Banglalink is a fully owned venture of Telecom Ventures Limited of Malta.
The operator has welcomed the regulator's initiative and hoped the audit would be conducted fairly.
"As one of the leading compliant organisations in the country, we welcome the move taken by the BTRC to audit Banglalink for verifying its compliance with the license obligations. Along with the pledging to fully comply with the terms and conditions of the audit, we would like to assure the BTRC of our full cooperation during the audit procedure," said Ankit Sureka, corporate communications senior manager at Banglalink.
"We expect that the entire audit process will be conducted acceptably and fairly following the local laws and international audit standards so that all the parties can reach a common conclusion regarding the matter with full transparency," he added.
He also expected all remaining operators, who have not been audited yet (e.g. Airtel and Teletalk), should go through the same process to ensure a level playing field.
In 2018, the BTRC conducted separate audits on two leading operators Grameenphone and Robi and claimed Tk12,579 crore and Tk867.24 crore dues against each operator respectively.
The two operators are yet to pay the dues, as per the audit claims of the BTRC, which they have challenged in the court.
To realise the disputed audit claims, BTRC stopped permitting Grameenphone and Robi from making new investments since July last year to realise disputed audit claims, thwarting their quality of services.
Both telecom operators have since been unable to expand their networks, although they gained many new users last year. This resulted in low speed of internet and call drops all over the country.