Robi gains, GP loses

PM launches mobile number portability service officially
mobile number portability service
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaks at the launch of mobile number portability service at Gono Bhaban yesterday. Telecom Minister Mustafa Jabbar and ICT State Minister Junaid Ahmed Palak were present. PID

Robi has pulled in 16,916 customers to its network from three rivals in the first three weeks after the mobile number portability was rolled out, according to a report of the telecom regulator.

Bangladesh Telecommuni-cation Regulatory Commission (BTRC) yesterday published a report that showed 11,676 Grameenphone customers left the market leader retaining their existing 11-digit number. On the other hand, it drew 4,041 new customers from its competitors.

Robi, the second largest operator, lost 5,973 customers since the MNP was introduced on October 1 "commercially but on a trial" basis. Bangladesh is the 72nd country in the world that makes the service available.

The MNP allows a subscriber to change telecom carrier keeping the same phone number.

According to the BTRC, 47,090 users tried to switch their network providers, but only 26,817 of them were successful.

Some 8,642 users tried to leave Grameenphone but failed because of a number of reasons. In case of Robi, 2,693 subscribers attempted in vain to leave.

For Banglalink, 8,916 users left its network and 5,526 joined from other networks, showed the regulator's report. State-owned Teletalk found 252 customers from other networks joining its network while 334 users switched to rival operators.

Customers are charged Tk 50 alongside a 15 percent value-added tax for changing networks within 72 hours. To do so within 24 hours, another Tk 100 has to be paid. In both cases, users require a visit to the new operator's customer care centre.

Customers 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, is providing the service.


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday opened the service officially at a function at her official Gono Bhaban residence.

"To cope with the fast-changing world, we'll surely take the steps which are needed for the brighter and beautiful future of the young generation," she said, reports news agency the UNB.

Hasina said youths were the biggest strength of a country and if they could be raised up with proper education, they would have a beautiful life.

She said new technologies have opened up immense opportunities for the socioeconomic development of the country. "We're utilising these and will do the same in the future too."

The prime minister said science and technology were like flowing rivers that never stop and continually adopt change.

"And we'll have to follow that as the new generation needs to be groomed in that way so that they can build the modern technology-based 'Sonar Bangla'."

Sheikh Hasina said she sacrificed her present life and future times for the young generation who would lead the country in the coming days.

"The country's progress, what we have achieved, must not stop...we want to maintain (the pace)," she said.

Posts and Telecommunications Secretary Shyam Sunder Sikder said the finance ministry has agreed to waive the SIM tax for getting new connections to help customers avail the MNP service.

He said the National Board of Revenue would issue a circular very soon in this connection.

Mustafa Jabbar, posts and telecommunications and ICT minister; Junaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for ICT; Md Jahurul Haque, chairman of the BTRC, and Md Nojibur Rahman, principal secretary to the prime minister, also spoke.

Imran Ahmed, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on posts, telecommunications and ICT ministry, and Nahim Razzaq, a lawmaker, were present.