P1 INTERNET PACK
3 telcos violates BTRC order on price cutAhmed Shawki
Three mobile phone companies —Grameenphone, Banglalink and Robi — have not complied with the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s order to reduce the price of pay as you go internet pack (P1) for subscribers, said BTRC officials.
The BTRC in a meeting with the operators on Sunday asked them to clarify why the order had not been implemented even after the expiry of the implementation deadline on June 30.
In July Banglalink, Robi and Airtel announced that they had reduced the P1 package charge for mobile internet use to Tk 0.015 per kilobyte from the previous rate of Tk 0.02 while GP said that it had reduced the charge to Tk 0.01 per kilobyte from Tk 0.02.
BTRC officials, however, said that although the four companies had introduced new P1 packages after the issuance of BTRC order, many of the subscribers of the previous packages of GP, Banglalink and Robi were paying in previous rates.
‘One of the three companies is offering the reduced tariff only in the off-pick hours while another is asking for migration charges from subscribers to get reduced tariff in the P1 package,’ said an official.
Mobile operators’ representatives in the meeting claimed that they had introduced P1 packages with reduced price and old subscribers had the option to migrate to the new one.
Another BTRC official said, ‘It may look like operators have reduced the P1 pack price but there are many loopholes in their offers.’
He said it was the operators’ duty to cut internet price for old subscribers as well. ‘If any subscriber continues with the old package, the mobile operators’ can not charge him or her Tk 0.02 per kilobyte,’ he said.
A senior official of the BTRC said that they might soon issue show-cause notices to the operators in this regard.
Asked about the issue Banglalink in an email reply to New Age said, ‘We have always been respectful to BTRC guidelines and tried to comply all the directives given accordingly. In case of P1 issue, we have also reduced the price by 25 per cent which our customers are already enjoying. Moreover, we also promote our other internet packages that are catered to the customers’ specific needs.’
New Age also contacted GP and Robi officials for their comments on the matter but none of them responded.
The price cut of mobile internet came following repeated protests in last month by the information and communications technology-related organisations which demanded the price should be Tk 0.10 for 1MBps and Tk 10 for 1GBps.
A delegation of protesters met the BTRC high-ups in early June and placed their demands.
In response to the protest the BTRC called the mobile phone operators and asked them to reduce the price by June 30 but did not specify the rate of the cut.
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