Mobile phone subscribers at a public hearing on Tuesday blasted the country’s mobile phone companies for poor service quality, deficient network coverage and annoying telemarketing.
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission organised the public hearing, the first of its kind, on service quality of the five mobile phone companies at its office in Dhaka.
No representatives from the mobile phone companies, however, were present at the hearing although they (the companies) initially had agreed to take part.
Subscribers said that the quality of voice and data services provided by the operators was not up to the mark while operators’ flawed communication with users made things worse.
Abul Bashar, a subscriber of leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone, said that he retrieved two post-paid SIM cards from the company by clearing dues several months ago but the SIM cards are yet to be activated.
‘I went to the Gulshan customer care centre of GP several times but could neither get my SIM cards activated nor any satisfactory answer from them. Now, if my SIM cards cross the 15-month benchmark of becoming inactive, the company will be able to resell my SIM cards,’ he complained.
Abul Hasnat Bhuiyan, a businessman, said that he had to stay abroad for a long period of time during which Robi sold his SIM card to another person without notifying him.
‘I placed my documents to the company and they gave me a SIM card. When I returned home, I found that it was not my number. Later the company said it had sold the number to another person because my papers were not acceptable,’ he said.
Bilqis Irani, a service holder who uses a Banglalink connection, said she bought a Banglalink post-paid SIM card and she was promised that the price of the SIM card would be adjusted with the first month’s talk-time.
‘But when I got the bill I saw that it was not adjusted. I called the customer care and they said I was wrongly informed by the company initially about the price adjustment,’ she said.
He also said that the operator also overcharged her for data service through the same number.
Rafiqul Islam, a resident in Dhaka, said that the advertisement of different products through SMS (short messaging service) to the mobile phone was very annoying and there was no way of avoiding it.
‘The first question is: how do the companies [third parties] get my number? Secondly, if they want to put their advertisements, then I want Tk 20 for each SMS advertisement that comes to my number. Otherwise, the BTRC should take steps to stop such annoying SMS,’ he said.
Gawhar Jamil, a subscriber, said that the time span for using some data packages were too short compared with the volume so the operators should offer rationalised packages.
‘If possible, the BTRC should remove the option of time span from data packages,’ he said.
Aminul Islam, a subscriber, said that the operators should stop late-night offers as those were affecting young people.
He also said that irrational time span of packages made people, especially young ones, to use more data for no good reason.
BTRC systems and services director general Md Emdad ul Bari said that the regulator was aware of most of the issues raised at the public hearing and some of those had already been addressed by the regulator through issuing directives.
‘I think most of your demands are rational from user perspective and we are actually working on some of the issues,’ he told the participants of the hearing.
BTRC engineering and operations director general Iqbal Ahmed said that the commission had bought new equipments for quality measurement of the operators.
‘We were less capable about the QoS measurement but now we will be able to do it without any help of the operators,’ he said.
BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood said that this was the first attempt by the BTRC to engage with common people over the issue of service quality of the mobile phone companies.
‘We have learnt some new things. All your feedbacks have been noted down and we will address those with due importance,’ he said.
Ahsan Habib Khan, vice-chairman of the BTRC, said there would be more events like Tuesday’s public hearing in future.
State-run Teletalk and CDMA-based Citycell are the two others mobile companies in the country.
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