Thursday, May 17, 2007


Mobile phone operator CityCell is making about Tk 360 crore a year illegally, according to regulatory officials. A 12-hour raid on the company headquarters in the capital Wednesday produced evidence for the BTRC officials to claim CityCell, majority-owned by former foreign minister M Morshed Khan, was making at least one crore a day using illegal VoIP connections.
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Once, citycell was the only mobile company which was hundred percent owned by Bangladeshis. But I could never like this company because of its excessive greed. Former foreign minister M. Morshed Khan earned, I should rather say extorted, a lot of money when it was the only mobile company in Bangladesh. Each connection with a handset costed more than one lakh at that time. The coverage area was only gulshan and some part of its surrounding area. It was clearly a blackmail. Years after years they went on like this, they had no intention of enlarging their coverage area nor lowering the price. They were happy with what was going on. After GP, Aktel and Sheba telecom (now Banglalink) came, there monopoly was decimated. Though, as a Bangladeshi, I should have wanted the best for their business, because of their earlier nasty business practice and crooked owners I wanted the demise of this company. Today another dark chapter of this company is revealed which just validates my stance against them.


Faiyaz said...

While Citycell was truly involved in illegal VOIP business, they were not the only company to do so. Can u tell me which mob operator in BD doesn't have a VOIP business ?

Russoue said...

Faiyaz, you missed my point. I said few things about citycell and I wanted to say that we don't expect this from a local company. The owners are Bangladeshis. That is what I was trying to say. I know other companies did the same but M Morshed Khan is a more culprit because he is cheating his own motherland, others are not. Actually, this is the case with all bd politicians, be it of BNP or BAL (two sides of the same coin).

FZ said...

Your coin argument is ludicrous, at least for this case. Look at the contradictions here, AL ended Citycell's monopoly in mobile business by letting GP, Aktel and Sheba to enter the market (note, none of these companies were owned by AL leaders). On the other hand, BNP govt deliberately deferred the legalization of VOIP so that companies like Citycell and other illegal VOIP operators can perform tax free business.

However bout VOIP, I am for its legalization and against the witch hunting of the govt. As u r not in Facebook, u may not have seen the note that I wrote a couple of weeks ago. Here it is for u :

Yahoo Messenger and Hotmail reducing BTTB revenue
April 24
According to today's Janakantha (, the RAB officials were trained on how net2phone, YAHOO MESSENGER, MSN MESSENGER are used for bypassing the BTTB network. The officials lamented that

1) People are using these means to bypass BTTB ISD system for calling both telephone and COMPUTERs and thus causing immense revenue loss to BTTB.
2) Due to VOIP, the call chage of int calls have reduced from 1dollar/min to 7/8 cents/min.

My questions:
1) PC to PC calling doesn't use BTTB network at all. So how come is that mentioned as a cause of BTTB revenue loss ?

2) Despite our former PM Khaleda Zia's declaration to legalize VOIP, why hasn't it been done yet ? Who were responsible for it and where are they right now ?

3) Does BTTB have enough capacity to handle the massive incoming /outgoing call volume made by about 5 million expatriate Bangladeshis in absence of any grey operators ?

4) Do they have any idea how much more money the non resident Bangladeshis are paying for the calling cards after their short sighted actions against VOIP ? No, they are more concerened about the petty increase in their revenue (or the potential source of more bribe money).

My comments:
As it shows that BD govt, BTTB, Rab etc are more concerned about their revenue rather than anything else, I have some proposals:

1) Ban email. It'll increase the revenue of the postal department.
2) Ban internet. It'll help increasing BTTB and postal department revenue.
3) Ban all other mobile phones except Teletalk. It'll increase BTTB revenue at least 20 times.
4) Ban all the private TV channels and increase the ad rate of BTV. That way BTV can make a huge revenue.

Russoue said...

Dosto, don't get excited. Actually, my coin thing was from generic perspective. I was not relating it with this case specifically. In general, BNP and AL are two sides of same coin. All illiterate, corrupt and looter leaders who only care about their own pockets.

Mehedi said...

Any specific reason not to comment on other companies? :)

Salam Dhaka said...

Was Grameen involved in VOIP termination?

If so, I would like their offices raided too.

Russoue said...

Mehedi, I was concentrating on (former) Bangladeshi company only.

Rubel bhai, I heard everyone was involved in illegal VoIP including Grameen. I have friends in almost all mobile companies. They told me so.