Mobile internet users are paying the price for the glitches
Many customers have complained regarding problems with internet services, and mobile operators are responding to the complaints by claiming their system has – “technical glitches.”
One such customer, Monirul Bashar, manager of a private company, uses Grameenphone’s (GP) 28-day internet package. His problems regarding mobile internet have yet to be solved.
According to him, the internet package was renewed once within 15 days, and then within 20 days, of purchase, without notifying him.
He added that his package was renewed without him being informed, and then a single message notification was sent—saying that his data was finished—leaving him on pay-per-use mode.
Confused, Monirul reached out to GP and the operator informed him after three days that “there was a mistake in the system, sending customers’ wrong information.”
Many others like Monirul have faced similar situations receiving the same “it was a technical glitch” answer.
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Monirul said: “Everyone is getting away with this by saying that it was a technical problem but the customers have to pay the price.”
He also said that the operators are supposed to send notifications when 50 and 80 percent of the data pack is used up but GP only notifies him when the data ends.
As a result, users have reached out to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), where the telecoms regulator is overflowing with complaints about internet: speed, prices, network problems, data volume, data running out too soon despite low power mode usage, access problems for streaming videos; plus about money being deducted from accounts without prior notice.
“The user needs to contact the customer care of their mobile operator if they think that they are not getting the proper data volume that they paid for,” BTRC Senior Assistant Director Zakir Hossain said.
He added that if the operators fail to help then they should lodge a complaint with the commission by filling out a form and steps will be taken accordingly.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Network Operators Group (BdNOG) Trustee Board Chairman Sumon Ahmed Sabir said that there can be technical glitches but if this continues to happen then it is a problem.
Sumon said: “If the problem continues you have to assume that there is some kind of bug in the operator’s system software which might turn into an issue for the users. And, if the bugs are not fixed even after having been identified, then it is clear that the technical glitches are indeed intentional.”
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He added that these intentional glitches might be a “trick” from the operators’ part as they can gain heavily from them, costing the customer a hefty amount of money.
“Sometimes it is the customer's fault, as they are not properly informed, but then again it is the operators’ duty to inform the customers,” Sumon said.
People familiar with the matter know that data volume can run out based on: app usage, 3G and 4G use, resolution of videos streamed, and many other things. If users are careful about this, they might save their data.
BTRC received 3,522 complaints in 2017. In one year there were: 1,973 complaints against GP, 612 against Banglalink, 608 against Robi, 221 against Airtel, and 104 against Teletalk.
The regulatory commission's actions, regarding complaints, concerned operators and led to many of the issues being resolved through negotiation and compensation for the damage caused.
Telecommunication Minister Mostafa Jabbar said that in light of the complaints they have decided to build infrastructure that includes proper guidelines and laws.
“The operators are incapable enough compared to their number of customers and for their weak network they cannot provide the services,” he said.
He added that if users are not satisfied with the services of their existing operator they can now resort to Mobile Number Portability (MNP).
“Not only internet, any allegation of negligence or irregularities against operators will be probed and strict action will be taken against them [negligent operators],” Jabbar said.