The much-awaited mobile number portability (MNP) service was launched for the first time in Bangladesh since this morning.
With this Bangladesh becomes the 72nd country to make the service available.
Also read: Switch to any operator
Customers will be charged Tk 50 as well as a 15 per cent value-added tax (VAT) to change carriers within 72 hours. To do so within 24 hours, another Tk 100 has to be paid. Both require a visit to the new operator's customer care centre.
Customers will have to wait at least 90 days to make another switch. Infozillion BD Teletech, a joint venture between a Bangladeshi firm and a Slovenian firm, completed preparations for the launch.
Regarding the newly launched MNP service, Ekram Kabir, vice president of Robi Axiata Limited said, “We have begun to provide MNP service to the people.”
He also thanked the customers who have already chosen Robi and Airtel on the very first day of the service.
The BTRC first took the initiative in 2009 and it was discussed by the parliamentary standing committee on telecommunication several times. There was little progress afterwards.
In June 2013, the BTRC asked the mobile phone operators to introduce the MNP service by January 2014. That initiative also went in vain.
This prompted the regulator to change the model and in 2016, the BTRC decided to appoint a third party to offer the service. It awarded the licence to Infozillion in November 2017. May 1 was set for the launch, but the date was deferred twice as the operators were not ready.
Singapore pioneered the service in 1997 and India and Pakistan introduced it a few years ago.
Will change teleco business: BTRC
Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) hopes the MNP will change the telecom market dynamics for better within a few months.
Md Jahirul Haque, acting chairman of BTRC expressed the optimism during a press conference at BTRC office this noon following the launch.
MNP will enhance competition between the operators for providing better services to the customers, the BTRC chairman said while talking to the journalists.
MNP will also ensure a level-playing field for all the operators, Jahirul added; suggesting that now all the operators, small or big, will have equal chances in the business.
Several hundreds of shifting has reportedly taken place since morning. Among the 15 crore mobile users of the Bangladeshi population only one-two percent are aware of the services they are availing, the chairman said.
Infozillion BD Teletech, a joint venture between a Bangladeshi firm and a Slovenian firm, assured it will provide the MNP service to customers within 24 hours instead of 72 hours.
Customers will be charged Tk 50 as well as a 15 per cent value-added tax (VAT) to change carriers. They will have to wait at least 90 days to make another switch.