Finance Minister AMA Muhith has taken the issue of call-drops of Grameenphone with the president of Telenor Group, which owns majority stakes of the largest mobile phone operator in Bangladesh.

Muhit, who is now in Washington to attend the IMF and World Bank’s Annual Spring Meeting, met with Telenor President and CEO Sigve Brekke.

“I told the Telenor president that I have one only complaint, the one about huge call-drops.

“He admitted it and said the spectrum allotted to them is not sufficient. He says the spectrum is divided in two parts– data and voice. The data spectrum has unused capacity, but that’s not the case for voice and that’s why the call drops occur,” the finance minister told bdnews24.com after the meeting.

Launched in 1997, Grameenphone claims to have 99 percent surface coverage in the country and a more than 50 million-strong subscriber base.

Call-drops are not new for Grameenphone. The operator had announced that it would compensate the subscribers for dropped calls last year but later withdrew the offer ‘without advising the customers.

Norway’s Telenor, which runs businesses in several other countries but makes more money in Bangladesh than from its other subsidiaries including India’s Uninor, owns 55.8 percent share in Grameenphone.

Muhith said that the Telenor boss has asked for more spectrums to address the call drop issue.

“We have now 3G services, but in reality we are still in 2G. It’s about time we focus on introducing 4G, the Telenor chief also stressed it.”

The finance minister said that he will discuss the 4G spectrum auction issue with the BTRC after returning Dhaka.

Asked when the auction might happen, he replied: “Well, I will have to head for Japan in the first week of May for the ADB annual meeting. Then there’s the budget… the auction will be held after that.”

bdnews24.com/LY