Auto-activation of unnecessary value added services, poor network coverage and excessive call drop of mobile phone services drew 3,522 complaints against mobile phone operators to the telecom regulator in 2017, with the highest number of complaints lodged against Grameenphone.
Of the complaints received by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, 56 per cent of total complaints or 1,973 numbers of complaints were against the leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone.
Besides, 23.42 per cent of all complaints or 825 complaints were submitted against Robi and Airtel collectively on various grounds, showed a BTRC data for the period of December 7, 2016 to December 31, 2017.
Number of complaints against Banglalink was 612, representing 17.63 per cent of total complaints, 2.93 per cent or 104 complaints were lodged against Teletalk and complaints against out of operation Citycell were 8.
Mobile subscribers usually files complaints with BTRC against operators when the subscribers fail to get any remedy from the operators.
Customers’ complaints against the mobile phone operators were about, among others, auto activation of value added service leading to balance deduction without customers’ knowledge.
Following the complaints from the customers and instructions from BTRC, Grameenphone and Banglalink have taken a number of initiatives in this regard.
BTRC in its report mentioned that the leading mobile phone operator has closed eight of its short-codes following complaints from the consumers.
Many customers of Grameenphone have found that a number of value added services of the operator were activated in their handsets and ultimately resulted in balance deduction, BTRC officials said.
‘We welcome BTRC’s initiative to listen to customers’ alongside with the operators,’ GP head of external communications Sayed Talat Kamal told New Age following a query.
He said GP has resolved 98.9 per cent of the complaints registered with BTRC.
‘In 2017, we have further simplified our services which has reduced the number of customer complaints by 74 per cent,’ he said.
The BTRC data shows low internet speed in using 2G and 3G services, poor network coverage, fraudulent activities carried out through mobile phone and excessive call drop were others issues mentioned in complaints.
Besides, customers’ complaints against the mobile phone operators also included call rate and billing-related issues, sending excessive amount of irritating SMS and phone calls, charging abnormally for data usage and mobile financial services, the BTRC report showed.
Activation of unnecessary value added services in Banglalink’s customers’ mobile phone number is yet to be stopped despite repeated complaints from subscriber regarding the issue.
Following a complaint from a Banglalink subscriber on auto activation of VAS, the mobile phone operator informed BTRC that such activation of VAS services would be stopped after February following enhancement of its capacity.
Until the problem is solved the mobile operator will pay compensation to its subscriber for any sort of unnecessary or auto subscription of VAS service.
Another data of the telecom regulator showed that the commission resolved a total of 1,536 complaints of the telecom service subscriber during the period of April-December, 2017 following submission of 1,572 complaints by mobile phone operators, leaving 36 complaints unresolved.
The number of complaints lodged with the commission should not be considered significant considering the number of active mobile phone SIMs above 14 crore in the country, an official of BTRC told New Age.
Mobile phone subscribers’ lack of knowledge about the scope to lodge complaints to the telecom regulator was the main reason behind the low number of complaints at BTRC considering the customer dissatisfaction in the country, he said.
A number of customers told New Age although the commission has taken initiatives in this regard, customers’ sufferings were yet to end.
Although BTRC issued directives for improving the quality of service of mobile phone operator, the drive of the commission is yet to bring any visible result as BTRC lacks power to impose punitive measures in this regard, an official of the commission said.
Apart from the subscribers’ complaints at BTRC, Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection received about 600 allegations during June-November last year, mostly related to ‘cheating’ through ‘false’ advertisements of internet package offers against GP and Robi.
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