Thursday, 23 May, 2024
Thursday, 23 May, 2024
The Daily Post
Mobile Internet Disruption

3.5m user left mobile data internet in BD

Staff Reporter

3.5m user left mobile data internet in BD

-1GB cost Tk10 to 15 than before

-Low income ppl & students suffer most

-Broadband internet user increases


There has been a terrible chaos in the field of mobile phone internet. After the 3 and 15 days packages are stopped, mobile phone internet subscribers are decreasing. In the last 5 months, the number of subscribers has decreased by about 35 lakhs. Those who used to use small internet packages have now stopped using the internet. Operators have also increased package prices. The cost has nearly doubled since the new decision came in October last year. Now internet packages are being made in such a way that even a seven day package for minimum usage has to be spent Tk200. Customers are extremely upset with this decision of BTRC. There are also complaints of not getting proper network. Also the unused internet has not been resolved.

How can this chaos be resolved? Junaid Ahmed Palak, State Minister for Telecommunication and Information Technology said "I have asked the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Agency-BTRC to organize a public hearing." A public hearing will be held soon. We will take further steps in this regard after listening to the common people. We will take measures as common people want. No one will be advantaged unethically.

From October 15 last year, the regulatory agency BTRC stopped the 3 to 15 days internet package. At the same time, the number of internet packages was reduced from 95 to 40. As a result, the customer's cost per GB of internet usage increases by Tk 10 to Tk 15. Before the election, the operators were giving one and a half GB internet for Tk 68. It has been a few days that customers are not getting 1 GB internet for 68 taka. Earlier, customers used to get one GB internet for 48 taka. Consumers started protesting before the election. Then, the then Post and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar called the operators and instructed them to maintain the previous prices. Operators gave assurances but nothing was done.

Has the new decision increased the cost of the Internet? When asked to know, Sahedul Alam, Chief Corporate and Regulatory Officer of Robi mobile operator, said we are also affected by the new decision of BTRC. Our revenue has not increased. Customers have not increased. One thing to understand is that as the duration of a package increases, so does the cost. We have to keep that package in our network for a long time. What actually happened was that the new package was approved. We are yet to review the new decision as customers who bought small packages have stopped buying. Those who used to buy three day package earlier are not buying now because the price is high. Due to this, internet subscribers are also decreasing. The price of a seven-day package has now been fixed at the same ratio as the money used to buy a three-day package. BTRC is doing that with us. We will convey our observations to BTRC very soon. In the month before the new decision was announced on October 15 last year i.e. in September, there were 13 crore 22 lakh 60 thousand internet subscribers in the country. Among them, mobile internet subscribers were 11 crore 97 lakh 70 thousand. According to the latest calculations of BTRC in January, there are 12 crore 91 lakh 80 thousand internet users in the country. Out of this, mobile internet subscribers are 11.63 million. In other words, 34 lakh 70 thousand mobile internet subscribers have decreased in 5 months. On the other hand, broadband internet has increased by 4 lakh in the last five months.

Has the matter come to the attention of BTRC that customers are being affected by the new decision? When asked, BTRC Director General (SS) Brigadier General Khalilur Rahman said we are reviewing the matter." We want to know the observations of the operators in this regard. Action will be taken after receiving their report. Besides, public hearing is being organized. We will also take into account what the customers say there.

Mobile operators had earlier informed BTRC that 69.23 percent of mobile internet users in the country use three-day data packages. In this situation, if this popular package is stopped, low income people including students will be affected. BTRC, on the other hand, argues that not all of the data provided in the three-day package is used. Due to this, the customers will benefit if the period is extended. But now the opposite is happening.

According to a report titled Global Internet Value Index (IVI) published by VPN service platform Surf Shark, Bangladeshis are spending about 6.9 times more money than other countries in the world. The report was published by IVI last November. The Global Internet Value Index is based on the cost of the Internet and the availability of such services. In the report, they publish a ranking of how a country spends on Internet usage. In this list, Bangladesh is ranked 83rd in the world and third regionally. According to Surf Shark, Bangladesh's index is 0.0105, which is about 86 percent lower than the global average index. This means that Bangladeshis have to spend extra money to get internet services and only 24 percent of the world spends more than Bangladesh in this regard.