Thursday, February 29, 2024

BTRC to go tough on mobile phone operators

Bill Shocks After Promotional Offers
BTRC to go tough on mobile phone operators
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission is likely to go tough on the mobile phone operators as many subscribers are facing bill shocks after availing themselves of different promotional or campaign offers.
BTRC officials said the commission would issue a directive to the mobile phone companies to disconnect the campaign offer services once the campaign period is over.
‘To promote new packages or bundle offers, the mobile phone operators provide some services for free or at a lower cost for a specific period of time once a user subscribes to those services. Once the promotional campaign ends, in many cases the operators start charging the users at the regular rate, whereas the subscribers remain unaware of the fact,’ a senior BTRC official told New Age.
‘As a result, the users incur huge amount of charges without knowing what is going on as the mobile phone companies do not maintain a standard policy for unsubscribing from such services,’ he said.
He said the BTRC would issue a directive to the mobile phone companies to stop such services once the campaigns are over and send notifications to the subscribers concerned.
‘If a subscriber is still willing to avail her/himself of the service with regular tariff, then they will get him registered again,’ he said.
BTRC officials said that earlier the mobile phone companies used to be given such bundle approval with a mandatory subscription renewal of six months to three months.
‘But, on many occasions, the mobile phone companies do not comply with those periodic subscription renewal directives,’ said another BTRC official.
The BTRC last year drafted some amendments to its Interim Directives on SMS-based Premium Rate Services and Interim Directives on Tariff and Marketing Promotion that also proposed to bar such practices by the mobile phone companies.
The Section 6 of the draft amendments to the Joint Directives (PRS & Promotion) said that the mobile phone companies have to provide an SMS service named ‘List’ that lists all the registered services a subscriber is using at a given moment so that the user can see it whenever s/he wants.
It said the ‘List’ service must provide an option to the subscribers to disconnect any or all registered services through SMSs.
‘Although the draft was sent for public opinion in September 2011, the commission is yet to finalise it because of the pressure from mobile phone companies,’ a senior BTRC official told New Age.

-With New Age input

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