Currently, there are a total of 93.702 million internet users in the country
BTRC Chairman Jahurul Haque says there is "no alternative to quality service" when it comes to the country's mobile network, and internet services.
"We are working to ensure quality service. Many operators are failing to provide the requisite service to their clients due to lack of spectrum. There will be no compromise with operators on the issue of quality service," the BTRC chairman said in an interview.
On tower sharing, and upgrading, Haque urged all operators to cooperate with each other. "Each of them has around 25-30,000 towers. The four companies who received tower licenses from the authorities to build them, are yet to reach a consensus with the operators. We will finalize our decision, and notify the
companies concerned, and they are bound to comply with our decision."
Talking about complaints against the four mobile operators, the BTRC chairman provided figures for last March, which revealed a total of 334 complaints against market leader Grameenphone (GP), 448 complaints against Robi, 149 against Banglalink, 166 against Airtel, and 101 complaints against Teletalk.
Replying to a query about GP subscribers being reportedly the worst sufferers of network problems, Haque mentioned that all operators have problems to some degree. "When subscribers complain, we take steps to solve those. We will not compromise with anyone in the case of quality service."
"The Quality of Service Regulation has already been issued to verify if the relevant standards with regards to services of the operators meet best practices. Tests drives are being conducted in different areas. No operator should be labelled as best operator as the quality of service varies from one place to another. We are working to improve the services of all operators, across the country."
The BTRC chief mentioned that work is ongoing, to solve the problems that the operators face frequently, such as load-shedding, and battery stealing.
Referring to the "call drop" nuisance faced by almost all mobile phone users, he said a notice has already been issued to the operators seeking explanation over dropped calls.
Haque said there has been some improvement in this regard, and that the customers are now benefiting from it. "Hopefully, there will be more progress."
Referring to the recovery of unregistered SIMs, the BTRC Chairman said a total of 30 drives were conducted across the country to check fake RIM/SIM registration.
A total of 15,124 fake SIMs were recovered, and of them, 1,118 are of GP while 2,475 of Robi, 1,837 of Banglalink, a whopping 9,667 of state-run Teletalk, and 27 against non-existent Citycell.
Besides, law enforcers arrested 102 people in this connection.
Illegal handsets, IMEI
Talking about illegal handsets in the country, Haque said 27,680,840 mobile handsets were imported last year.
There are about 25-30% "gray market" handsets available in Bangladesh.
He said, "About 10 crore handsets remain active in the country. Each year, approximately 35 million mobile handsets are sold in Bangladesh."
However, an IMEI database system has been set up in the BTRC to verify the accuracy of handsets, and to preserve data stored on the customer's mobile phone handset.
Currently, he said, the process of collecting IMEI data from imported, and domestically produced mobile handsets is in progress.
The process of providing training to concerned stakeholders is also going on.
Haque said as the regulator launched the central biometric verification, and monitoring platform in SIM registration process, it reduced fraudulent activities, including SIM cloning.
It helps the authority to verify user's identity according to his or her NID, to blacklist a user, if necessary, and take legal action against perpetrators, he added.
'Significant market power'
Haque said this step was taken following the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Significant Market Power Regulation which was issued on November 14 last year. "So, there is no fear for operators to be affected by the step."
He said no mobile operators would be allowed to do monopoly business. "We announced the Significant Market Power (SMP), and will soon notify which sectors will be under SMP. We are behaving equally with everyone. BTRC is conducting its activities as per law."
Referring to application of the telecommunications act, he said the process is on in this regard, which is expected to be completed soon.
On BTRC's action regarding blocking of porno sites, Haque said it blocked nearly 4,000 such sites so far. Besides, about 15,000 sites were blocked using cyber security system.
Regarding BTRC's initiative to reduce internet price, he said the commission has taken initiatives to fit in telecommunication service, and make internet service affordable for all.
According to BTRC, there are 160.590 million subscribers as of April this year. Of them, 74.473 million are GP subscribers, 47.574 million of Robi, 34.547 million of Banglalink, and 3.995 million Teletalk.
Currently, a total of 93.702 million internet users are in the country, and of them 87.910 million browse internet through mobile devices, while 0.060 million people use WiMAX. Some 5.732 million use ISP+PSTN.
The Mobile Number Portability service is a recently launched service under which subscribers can change their operator without changing their contact number.
As of February last, the chairman said 163,321 subscribers have changed their operators. Among them, 76,000 subscribers are from GP, 57,000 from Banglalink, 27,000 from Robi, and 3000 from Teletalk.
Besides, Robi added 118,000 new subscribers after the launching of MNP system, while Banglalink another 28,000, GP 14,000, and Teletalk just 2,000.