The minister also said that the mobile phone operators cannot escape from paying the dues with the interference of the international court
Telenor Group that owns the majority of Grameenphone's share has served a legal notice to Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid seeking arbitration to resolve the dispute between the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and Grameenphone.
Post and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar said this during a meeting of the Telecom Reporters' Network Bangladesh at his office on Thursday.
The minister also said that the mobile phone operators cannot escape from paying the dues even with the interference of the international court.
"The dispute can only be resolved according to the local law," he added.
There is a long-standing dispute between the BTRC and telecom service providers Grameenphone and Robi.
GP owes Tk12,579.95 crore in dues to the government, including Tk4,085.95 crore to the National Board of Revenue (NBR), while Robi owes a manageable Tk867.23 crore to the government, including Tk197.21 crore to the NBR.
The dispute came to a head when the BTRC attempted to cancel the operators' 2G and 3G licenses after limiting their bandwidth and stopped issuing them any no-objection certificate.
Mobile phone operators Grameenphone and Robi filed two cases respectively on August 25 and 26 this year with the Dhaka Civil Court, accusing the BTRC of its allegedly faulty audit report exaggerating the dues of the operators.
On November 24, the Appellate Division ordered Grameenphone to pay Tk2,000 crore to the BTRC out of its disputed claim of Tk12,580 crore dues within the next three months.
Statement from Telenor Group:
"GP is not a party to this process. For Telenor Group it is important to protect its assets in Bangladesh.
"Telenor has sent a notice to seek resolution of a dispute and invited the Government of Bangladesh to meet to discuss the matter and work towards a constructive solution.
"The BIT process itself encourages dialogue, and Telenor still believes the best way forward is that the authorities and the operators agree on an amicable and transparent solution to the disputed audit," Cathrine Stang Lund, director of group communication Asia of Telenor Group said in a statement.