Dhaka – The Supreme Court has asked Bangladesh’s first mobile phone company Citycell to pay its dues worth about Tk 477.51 crore to Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Council in installments within three months, officials said on Monday.
A five-member bench, headed by the Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha issued the order on a petition filed by the mobile phone operator after the regulator appealed for scrapping its licence.
The apex court also ordered that Citycell can run its operation on some conditions.
The mobile operator has to pay two-third of its outstanding payment within one month while the remaining within the following two months.
The company must pay fees including license fee on regular basis from September 17 to the BTRC, according to the SC directions.
If the company fails to obey the condition, the BTRC can take legal actions against it.
Earlier on 22 August, the High Court passed a stay-order until 16 September the government’s decision to shut the Citycell’s operations.
On August 23, Citycell filed a petition to SC seeking review of the HC order following the government’s move.
On 17 August, the BTRC chairman served a notice to Citycell asking it to explain why its license would not be scrapped for not paying the dues.
The mobile phone operator got a month to reply to the notice.
The BTRC issued a notification asking the Citycell subscribers to switch to alternative operator by 16 August while its chairman Shahjahan Mahmood said the operation of the company will be shut at zero hours of 24 August.
Considering such circumstances, the High Court asked the government to allow the mobile phone company to continue its operation until the deadline of responding to the BTRC notice ended.
Citycell’s employees have been forming human chains outside the operator’s head office seeking the prime minister‘s intervention to save their jobs.
Citycell launched its operations in 1993, making it the country’s first mobile phone service provider. Its subscription stood a peak of 1900,000 in 2011.
Citycel ‘s revenue reached Tk 139.77 crore in fiscal 2014-15, while its investment was zero, according to the BTRC’s annual report.