The Supreme Court today ordered the government to allow Citycell to continue running operations for now with a fresh deadline to pay Tk 100 crore by November 19.
A four-member bench of the Appellate Division of the SC headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the order after hearing a petition filed by Citycell seeking back its spectrum.
If the mobile operator fails to pay the due payment of Tk 100 crore to the BTRC by November 19, the telecom regulator can cancel its spectrum again, the SC in its order said.
The apex court also formed a three-member committee headed by Prof Jamilur Reza Choudhury to settle the issue between BTRC and Citycell over its due payment.
On October 20, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission cancelled the spectrum of Bangladesh’s first mobile operator that served users for more than two decades.
Citycell filed the petition seeking its spectrum allocation on October 24, five days after BTRC’s suspension order.
The dues of the Citycell include the spectrum renewal fee at Tk 229 crore, annual licence fee of Tk 10 crore, annual spectrum fee of Tk 27.14 crore, VAT Tk 39.92 crore and late fees of Tk 135 crore, according to a BTRC notice.
The operator owes the BTRC Tk 477.69 crore, and in September the apex court ordered Citycell to pay two-thirds of the amount, Tk 318.42 crore, by October 19. The operator managed to pay Tk 130 crore.
In the petition, the mobile operator claimed that it paid Tk 130 crore to BTRC and Tk 14 crore to the National Board of Revenue in installments.
Earlier on July 31, the regulator asked Citycell customers to switch to other operators by August 16, as it had decided to suspend its operations.