BTRC to press telcos, ISPs to ensure better service

HM Murtuza | Published at 09:30pm on July 20, 2018

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A file photo shows a man browsing internet on his mobile phone in Dhaka. The BTRC has initiated a move to press mobile phone operators and broadband internet service providers in the country to improve service quality. — New Age photo

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has initiated a move to press mobile phone operators and broadband internet service providers in the country to improve service quality.
Although the mobile phone operators, under the government initiative, launched the fourth generation mobile phone service in February 19 this year with a view to improving internet speed and voice quality, the targets are yet to be achieved, a BTRC official told New Age.
The posts, telecommunications and information technology ministry has provided the mobile operators with a number of facilities including 4G launch, spectrum auction, technology neutrality, internet price cut and value-added tax cut for improving quality of service, the official said.
For the latest instance, the mobile phone operators are still charging their customers 15 per cent VAT on internet package prices even after 22 days of the issuance of a statutory regulatory order by the National Board of Revenue slashing the VAT rate to 5 per cent.
The BTRC has issued a directive about the 4G service quality of the mobile Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has initiated a move to press mobile phone operators and broadband internet service providers in the country to improve service quality. phone operators, but the telecom regulator is yet to start stringent enforcement of the directive.
Under the directive about the 3G quality of service issued on August 22, 2017, the commission asked the operators to ensure immediately minimum 512 Kilobyte per second downlink speed of internet in the 3G-covered areas. The operators were asked to raise it to 768Kbps after one year of the issuance of the directive.
It also instructed the mobile operators to ensure minimum 50Kbps upload speed immediately and to increase it to 70Kbps after one year.
Although the government had initially set the minimum 4G internet speed at 20Mbps, the operators proposed that the speed be limited to 7.5Mbps.
On the other hand, country’s broadband internet service providers are depriving their customers of specified internet speed and many customers of the ISPs also suffer from frequent service disconnection.
As part of its move to press the mobile operators and ISPs to improve service quality, the BTRC will hold a meeting with the operators on Monday.
Telecom minister Mustafa Jabbar and acting BTRC chairman Md Jahurul Haque will be present in the meeting and telecom operators and ISPs have been asked to participate in the meeting.
On February 13 this year, Shahjahan Mahmood, the immediate past chairman of the BTRC, expressing his dissatisfaction over the mobile phone operators’ service quality at a spectrum auction ceremony in Dhaka had warned the operators that the commission would focus on ensuring quality of service in the days ahead.
In Bangladesh the mobile operators serve 10-15 times higher number of customers with one megahertz of spectrum compared with the number of customers served with a megahertz of spectrum in Malaysia and Germany, he informed.
He said that Grameenphone served 20 lakh people with one megahertz of spectrum, Banglalink 16 lakh and Robi 12 lakh.
Mahmood said Malaysian Celcom Axiata served only 1.86 lakh people with a megahertz of spectrum, another operator in the country Maxis served two lakh people with one megahertz of spectrum.
In Germany, Vodafone served only 2.2 lakh people or subscribers with a megahertz of spectrum, he said.
The number of active mobile phone subscribers and internet users in Bangladesh stood at 15.09 crore and 8.78 crore respectively at the end of June this year.