The High Court yesterday issued a ban on future mobile call rate hikes and on charging subscribers for dropped calls.
The ban was issued for all five mobile phone operators in the country -- Grameenphone, Robi, Airtel, Banglalink and Teletalk.
In response to a writ petition that challenged mobile call rate hikes and charges for dropped calls, the court also directed the authorities concerned to form a committee to look into the call rates and take necessary steps.
Secretary to the post and telecommunications ministry, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and its secretary have been directed to immediately form the committee.
Moreover, the HC issued a rule asking the respondents of the government and the mobile phone operators to explain in four weeks why hiking mobile charges without taking the opinions of subscribers and why their failure to protect the rights of the subscribers should not be declared illegal.
Secretary to the post and telecommunications ministry, chairman and secretary of BTRC and the chief executive officers of the mobile phone operators have been made respondents to the rule.
The HC bench of Justice Tariq ul Hakim and Justice Md Shohrowardi came up with the order and rule.
Members of Law Reporters Forum (LFR) M Badiuzzaman and Mahidi Hasan Dalim, Mobile Phone Subscribers Association President Mohiuddin Ahmed and Supreme Court lawyer Rashedul Hasan collectively submitted the petition recently seeking necessary directives from the HC.
In the petition, they requested the court to direct the authorities concerned to form a committee to decide financial compensation for mobile call drops and to issue a ban on hiking mobile call rate in future, charging for dropped calls and sending multiple SMS's. They also said the operators increased mobile call rates without taking subscribers' opinions which can be deemed illegal and against consumer rights.
Around a total of 222 crore calls have been dropped by operators from September 2017 to September 2018, according to a BTRC report.
The mobile operators were supposed to compensate the subscribers for the charged call drops but they did not do so, the report said.
Advocate Ishrat Hasan appeared for the petitioners while Deputy Attorney General Amatul Karim Swapna represented the government.