Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Grameen Telecom, the local shareholder of the country’s largest mobile phone operator Grameenphone was not ready to pay any fine for ‘illegal’ activities committed by Norwegian firm Telenor, a company official said.
“Grameenphone is run by the Telenor management. So Telenor is to blame for any illegal activity. Why should we pay for their repeated illegal activities in Bangladesh?” a high official of Grameen Telecom was quoted by The Daily Star on Saturday.
Telenor owns a 62 percent share, while Grameen Telecom holds the remaining stake in Grameenphone, launched in 1996. Telenor controls the management of the cellphone company.
“Grameen Telecom has no association with illegal call termination business through VoIP conducted by Grameenphone,” the official noted.
Bangladesh‘s telecom regulator fined Grameenphone Tk 1.68 billion and Tk 2.50 billion in separate cases for its involvement in illegal international call termination business through voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology.
As a shareholder, Grameen Telecom will have to bear Tk 1.58 billion of the fine, while Telenor will pay Tk 2.60 billion.
Of the total amount of the fine, Grameenphone has so far paid Tk 2.18 billion from its account to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), according to the reports.
On Friday, Telenor in a statement said it was in complete agreement with Dr Muhammad Yunus, chairman of Grameen Telecom, that the circumstances surrounding the VoIP issue need further investigation, particularly to uncover the persons responsible.
Telenor stresses that it was an issue, which Grameenphone must respond to, in a process that includes both shareholders, the statement added.
About Telenor’s alleged involvement in illegal internet telephony services, Dr Yunus in statement on Friday demanded that Telenor authorises ensure transparency in the matters, making public the investigation reports.
“We can’t allow the name of Grameen to be tarnished directly or indirectly by inappropriate operations,” Yunus said in a statement distributed through PR Newswire.