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Tax waiver fails to boost MNP appetite

MFS-related complexity blamed for slowdown

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Feb 15,2019

 
 

A file photo shows a man inserting a SIM into a mobile phone in Dhaka. Withdrawal of SIM replacement tax on mobile number portability service has failed to put the desired impact on boosting customers’ appetite for the service as the number of operator-change cases through this service dropped by 6.18 per cent or 1,810 in January. — New Age photo

Withdrawal of SIM replacement tax on mobile number portability service has failed to put the desired impact on boosting customers’ appetite for the service as the number of operator-change cases through this service dropped by 6.18 per cent or 1,810 in January.
As per the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission data released on Thursday, the number of successful porting of mobile phone subscribers dropped to 27,448 in January this year from 29,258 in December last year.
On October 1, 2018, the government with the aim of prompting competition among the mobile phone operators in improving quality of service launched the MNP service that allows the mobile phone subscribers to change operator keeping their mobile numbers unchanged.
The number of requests from subscribers for the service also dropped by 17.12 per cent or 9,684 to 46,868 in January this year from 56,552 a month ago.
The falling trend in MNP subscription surfaced in November last year.
The number of successful porting dropped to 32,773 in November, the second month after the MNP launch, from 44,312 in October.
Following requests from the mobile phone operators and BTRC, National Board of Revenue on January 14 issued a circular withdrawing Tk 100 in taxes applicable to changing operator while taking MNP service.
At present, subscribers are charged Tk 50 along with VAT for changing operator through MNP service.
BTRC senior assistant director and spokesperson Zakir Hossain Khan told New Age that SMS routing of mobile financial services along with complexity regarding the use of one time password for different services was the main reason for the falling trend in MNP subscription.
He, however, said that the commission was working to resolve the issues.
Robi corporate and regulatory affairs head Shahed Alam in a statement on Thursday said, ‘Unfortunately, the corporate customers are still struggling to avail MNP service.’
‘Since MNP service was launched on the first day of October, 2018, only one organisation has been able to enjoy the MNP facility so far,’ said Alam.
Besides, many subscribers who have availed the facility are not receiving OTP service from various banks, he said adding, ‘We are hopeful that the regulator will take necessary steps to address these problems.’
In January this year, second largest mobile phone operator Robi Axiata Limited received 21,823 subscribers from other operators, while 3,505 customers of the operator left for other operators availing MNP service.
Banglalink received 3,290 customers from other net works, while 10,836 Banglalink users opted for other operators.
Top operator Grameenphone received 1,855 from others, but it lost 12,659 customers in January.
State-owned Teletalk gained only 480 customers from other networks while 448 Teletalk customers left the network.

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