Compensation for every call drop on cards
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is formulating a new rule to enable customers to receive compensation for every call drop suffered, albeit a maximum of seven a day.
Up until now, the compensation has been one minute of talk time for every call drop.
Currently, only the customers who have faced multiple call drops a day get the compensation, that too counting from the second one and onwards.
"We have observed that the incidence of one call drop (a day) is the highest…So, I think the customers deserve to get their money back," Mustafa Jabbar, posts, telecommunications and information technology minister, told The Daily Star.
Taking every call drop to be Tk 0.60 in value, the telecom watchdog estimates that Grameenphone, Robi and Banglalink have not provided Tk 10.74 crore in compensation to customers in the first six months of this year.
Of the amount, Grameenphone owes Tk 2.22 crore, Robi Tk 6.16 crore, and Banglalink Tk 1.72 crore.
The Daily Star talked to eight mobile phone users who suffered multiple call drops in a single day and found that only one got such compensation ever.
Officials of the mobile operators explained that they were only compensating call drops occurring for calls being made and received on a single network, which they feel could be due to that network's glitches.
Since the other types of call drops involve multiple parties, which could be another operator, interconnection exchange or fibre cable company, the problem could arise from any end, making detection and sharing payouts difficult.
The new rule could contradict the BTRC's current call drop policy, which stipulates that a mobile operator's call drop rate should be less than 2 per cent of its overall calls.
Mobile networking technology is wireless and it works via a radio transmission solution. With such technology, call drop is a common incidence, said an official of an operator.
Call drops are a very common phenomenon in wireless networks of mobile phone operators, said Shahed Alam, chief corporate and regulatory affairs officer of Robi Axiata.
"The new guidelines issued by the regulatory body in this regard will provide a temporary solution to the customer's problem. To solve this problem in the long run, we need to dig deeper and take action according to the nature of the problem," he said.
The operator has long been blaming network jammers and barriers on tower installation for the call drops.
In many areas in the capital, towers can't be installed due to a lack of space and other restrictions, resulting in call drops in adjacent areas.
Unauthorised signal jammers are another concern for the operators as many religious sites use them to stop phones going off during prayers. This causes call drops in adjacent areas.
However, the customers said they are terribly suffering from call drops and voices breaking up.
The customers firmly believe that the operators should be held accountable for the call drops and low-quality services.