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Dhaka Tribune

GP activates internet without subscribers’ knowledge

Update : 17 Aug 2013, 07:58 PM

Millions of people subscribing to Grameenphone mobile services received an SMS in the past two days saying they had been registered for different internet packages although users claimed they had not requested any such registration.

“Thank you for registration. To opt out SMS ‘STOP’ to 8525 (Free),” read the SMS. Many users alleged that the mobile phone operators were doing whatever they wanted as there was no active consumer protection regulation.

“After waking up in the morning I saw this SMS from Grameenphone and after a few hours I received another. This second SMS claimed Grameenphone has received a request from me about internet volume,” Salahuddin Mahmud, an aggrieved subscriber, told the Dhaka Tribune.

He said: “I know that many of my colleagues received the same SMS…but no one had sought registra-tion for any services! Grameenphone registered us on its own and thus generated revenues!”

The second SMS from the leading mobile operator read: “After volume expiration, you will be charged as Tk0.01/10KB.”

People uploaded status posts about this of Facebook and other social media sites and discussed the matter on and offline.

When contacted, Grameenphone’s Head of Corporate Communication Tahmeed Azizul Huq told the Dhaka Tribune Saturday evening: “Maybe there is some problems in our system.

But so far as I know, there has been no deduction [of balance] following the SMSs.

“We are working to detect the glitch,” he said, adding that if found, all deductions would be refunded.

He said Grameenphone would send an SMS to its subscribers soon expressing its apology. Many al-leged that other operators also cheated them often in different ways.

Dhaka University student Jasim Mandal Saturday told the Dhaka Tribune that he had learned about a proposed consumer protection guideline of the telecom regulator but he was frustrated it was yet to be implemented. The draft guideline of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) aims at protecting the privacy of mobile phone users, streamlining telemarketing services through SMS and ensuring efficient complaint handling.

The guideline will also empower subscribers to cancel any SMS-based promotional or commercial of-fer, which the BTRC terms a hazard for users.

It says operators will have to inform the subscribers by calls, SMS or advertisements in daily newspa-pers before they go for any overhaul or suspension of any service. The BTRC will also open a complaint centre at its office within 90 days of the enforcement of the guideline so subscriber.

“We have prepared a set of guidelines containing 14 points to establish consumers’ rights. Despite the operators’ protest we have established lots of our thinking…A dialogue is going on and we may come to a decision soon,” a high official at the BTRC told the Dhaka Tribune on Saturday.

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