Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar has expressed his dissatisfaction over allowing time limits in mobile internet packages in the new guideline launched by the telecommunication regulatory body.
The minister asked the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) officials to consider banning time limits in mobile internet packages and requested the mobile operators to lift it even before a regulatory measure is taken.
"I request you to launch unlimited packages. At least one of you can experimentally launch packages not restricted by a time limit. Customers buy data with their money, and they should be allowed to use it over a time period as they wish," said Mustafa Jabbar, addressing the mobile operators at the launching ceremony of the guideline on Tuesday.
"In the future, there will be 100% data-based voice calls. So, you have to develop a suitable business plan now. Otherwise you will suffer losses," said Mustafa Jabbar, who was the chief guest at the programme at BTRC Bhaban.
The guideline regarding data packages, promotional SMS, and data usage record came to effect on 14 March to bring transparency and discipline in this sector.
According to BTRC's new guidelines, a mobile operator can offer a maximum of 95 data packages, with four specified validity periods – 3, 7, 15, 30 days. The cost of data can be different for different terms.
As per the guideline, information regarding the packages must be available online, so everyone will be able to know the details of the packages offered by an operator.
In addition, mobile operators cannot send more than four commercial SMS per day to a customer. They must also provide the customer with details of total recharge and expenditure through a SMS in Bangla every month.
The telecommunications minister said, by providing the guideline focusing on improving the user experience, the BTRC proved that it is not only a regulatory body, but also a telecom development organisation.
"The operators used to offer 295 packages and asked customers to choose one from them. It is ridiculous. These processes need to be easy for customers," said Jabbar.
He said the number of packages should be low, and instructions regarding them should be fresh and understandable.
He also said the mobile operators should prioritise ensuring the quality of services and prevent call drops. They should also return the money to the customers in cases of call drops.
According to the BTRC, there was a complication in record keeping due to the constant competition between operators for launching new data packages and not having a specific package ID. The new guideline will eliminate these problems.
"The guidelines will reflect customer-friendliness and accountability of the operators. This will further expand the customer's freedom to use unused data and bring order to the data package system. In this way, BTRC has acted as a facilitator rather than a regulator," said the BTRC Chairman Shyam Sunder Sikder at the programme.