BTRC bars mobile packages with less than 7-day validity

HM Murtuza | Published at 12:00am on December 06, 2018


A file photo shows a man using internet on his mobile phone in Dhaka. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has scrapped all the voice and data packages and offers of the mobile phone operators with up to 6 days validity. — New Age photo

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has scrapped all the voice and data packages and offers of the mobile phone operators with up to 6 days validity thus again arbitrarily raising mobile phone cost for the economical users.
The telecom regulator issued a directive to all four mobile phone operators — Grameenphone, Roib, Banglalink and Teletalk — in this regard on Tuesday.
The BTRC directive said that the validity of all sort of packages or bundled offers would be at least 7 days and highest 30 days.
The directive would be applicable for all kinds of voice and data packages.
Mobile phone operators were asked to implement the BTRC instruction from December 9, this year.
Such regulatory move would increase cost for the economical mobile phone users which constitute 34 per cent of total mobile phone subscribers, officials of mobile phone operator said.
They said that allocation of capacity for above 7 days period would be costly for the mobile phone operators compared with capacity allocation for less period of time such as one day.
If the cost of mobile phone operators increase it will also be reflected on the pricing of data and voice packages or officers as well, they said.
The mobile phone subscribers would face additional cost burden if the new regulatory directive is implemented by the operators.
Government with a view to extend fair competition among the mobile phone operator introduced uniform call rate setting floor price at Tk 0.45 per minute in any operator scrapping earlier provision of separate floor rate for on-net and off-net of Tk 0.25 and Tk 0.60 respectively.
Acting BTRC chairman Md Jahurul Haque told New Age, ‘We are trying to implement plans considering the overall development of the country and in doing so we need to accept the fact that every decision would not facilitate everyone.’
‘School going children are habituated to using such packages and offers with few hours validity and by exploiting them hundreds of crores of taka are being siphoned out of the country through mobile phone operators,’ he said.
With a view to saving customers from bill shock, the BTRC also scrapped another provision of allowing a customer to use up to Tk 200 for internet under pay per use tariff rate.
Under the new instruction, mobile phone operators would not be able to charge highest Tk 5 for internet under the pay per use tariff. Upon spending Tk 5 for internet under pay per use tariff, customer will have to purchase or subscriber internet package or offer for using internet.
The telecom regulator in its Tuesday’s directive asked the mobile phone operators to ensure renewal of package or bundle offers, with auto-renewal feature, immediately after the expiry of volume or validity.
The telecom regulator also reiterated another directive asking the operators to submit list of 35 packages or bundled offers within Thursday as a BTRC directive remained unimplemented for around ten months.
Earlier in February this year, the telecom regulator asked that the mobile phone operators would be able to issue highest 35 packages or bundled offers including 20 regulator offers and 15 promotional offers.