The telecom regulator has asked mobile phone operators to improve their packages and offers for both voice and data services, and bring down the number to 35 from more than a hundred now.
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) issued a set of directives on Tuesday, to be effective from December 9.
The regulator asked the operators not to offer any data or voice package with less than seven days' validity. No package validity will exceed 30 days, the directive said. The telecom watchdog has sought package lists from the operators by today.
After receiving complaints from customers for years, the BTRC has finally moved to control unwanted offers and packages as it has no other mechanism to protect the interests of customers, said a top official of the regulator.
Mobile operators, however, said the new order would deprive the customers of cheaper deals as many are used to buy a high volume of data for a very short period. At present, there are plenty of offers with validity for two days to three days and even for a few hours at a very cheap rate and these are very popular among the youth.
Now, these offers will be suspended and as a result data will be costlier for the users, said a senior official of a mobile phone operator.
About 65 percent internet subscribers are currently using these short-duration packages, so data consumption will be affected, he said. However, customers will get auto renewal offers after the expiry of a package. As of October, the total active internet connections were 9.24 crore, of which 8.66 crore are connected to the internet through mobile devices, according to BTRC's monthly report.
After implementing the latest order, the telecom regulator will focus on the conditions tagged with each offer, said the BTRC official.
“Sometimes, customers may be affected because of the conditions, so we need to look into those.”