Mobile phone users yesterday sat in a public hearing on telecom operators' service quality, in a first of its kind event organised by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
However, in the absence of representatives from mobile operators, customers complained to the regulator on network quality, call drops, unwanted SMSs, data packages and pricing. In response, BTRC officials said they noted the complaints and a three-member panel headed by the regulator's Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood will take the necessary action.
Rubel Hossain, a user from old Dhaka, complained of poor network regardless of the carrier.
Abul Bashar, a businessman, said his SIMs remained barred despite clearing all dues on August 12. “I visited the Grameenphone customer care centre eight times with no satisfactory result.”
Operators tend to block the attractive numbers and resell them, after a certain period of time, at higher prices to other customers, he alleged.
Bashar went on to advise the regulator to legally bind the operators into selling all their connections at regular prices.
Around 1,300 people signed up for the hearing, of which the BTRC invited 420. In the end, only around 200 attended the hearing held at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh.
Mahmood pledged to organise such a public hearing every six months to get customer feedback.
Fourth-generation services will shortly be rolled out in Bangladesh and the regulator will introduce mobile number portability in January, further helping the customers. “We are working to expand benefits for customers,” he said.
Aminul Islam, a subscriber, called for suspension of the operators' special night-time offers as the youth stay up to use them.
Monir Hossain, a student, said the BTRC should force operators to give one GB pack for one month at only Tk 50.
“Operators giving gifts like T-shirts and caps should be stopped. We don't want gifts, we want service,” said Wahid Zubair, another subscriber.
Khalid Bhuiyan, an entrepreneur, said the quality of service at the customer care centres has fallen.
Another customer said he sent more than 30 SMSs to Banglalink but failed to stop an offer from them.
Umme Kulsum, a student of Jahangirnagar University, said they cannot use Banglalink and Airtel connections when they are in their residential halls.
Rezaul Karim, a journalist, said in the last two years Robi has declared several places as free Wi-Fi spots but no connection was available. BTRC Vice-Chairman Md Ahsan Habib Khan, two commissioners Saleh Ahmad Hakim and Md Jahurul Haque were also present.
In the last six months, the BTRC received a total of 7,561 complaints, 2,187 of which were on the quality of service of the five mobile operators.
The BTRC is also receiving complaints through email and the mobile short code 2872.
Earlier, market leader Grameenphone organised two 'Meet the Customers' through Facebook to get feedback. However, the other operators never took such initiative.
Grameenphone officials said they had taken different measures and improved their quality after those two Facebook conferences. At present, there are 11.77 crore active SIMs in the market and more than 6.22 crore of them have active internet connections.