Saturday, April 20, 2024

17,000 phone subscribers quit BTCL despite improved service

Everything is not hunky-dory for the country’s land phone operators, experts say.
The state-owned Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Limited (BTCL) has been struggling for some time now to retain its subscriber base, sources in the company said. Despite BTCL’s attempts at improving the quality of its services (QoS) by bringing the nationwide call switching operations under a single multi-mode exchange, which significantly reduced the rate of call drops, and introducing a “one country, one rate” policy, the telecom behemoth’s subscriber base and revenues are shrinking.
According to the sources in the state-owned telecom entity, BTCL has lost over 17,000 subscribers in the last six months. The official data posted in its website shows that in June last year, it had 9,90,494 subscribers while in December the number decreased in to 9,73,479.
During the same period, BTCL increased its capacity to serve its subscribers better, up from the capability to cater to the needs of 13.47 lakh subscribers to 13.73 lakh now, although nearly 31 per cent of its total capacity is unused.
The BTCL data also shows that the company earned Tk. 2108.51 crore in the 2008-2009 fiscal year. However, its incomes decreased to Tk. 1418.96 crore and Tk. 1283.65 crore, respectively, in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.
A top official of BTCL, preferring anonymity, said mobile phone operators were chipping away at the BTCL subscriber base with their aggressive marketing and lucrative package offers.
A report, prepared in November last year, found that the BTCL had over Tk. 496 crore as dues from 54 different international carriers, said the official.
The official also said that several ministries and government offices owed the BTCL Tk. 425 crore. A total of 700 cases have been filed by the company to recover the dues.
This is not all. The BTCL’s problems were compounded by a government probe committee when it recently found massive anomalies in its international call terminations.
The six-member committee, formed two-and-a-half months ago to look into possible involvement of the BTCL in illegal voice over internet protocol (VoIP), found that the BTCL had no analysers for call data record among the international gateways and interconnection exchanges to record the numbers being connected and the call durations.
The probe committee also found that out of the BTCL’s three exchanges for international call terminations, one was often rebooted without any valid reason, resulting in traffic data loss.
Incidentally, since the international gateways and interconnection exchanges of the BTCL are on the same platform and connected to other telecom operators, the rebooting left a gap allowing calls to bypass proper channels.
The BTCL managing director refused to comment on the issue when contacted by The Independent over the phone. He said the BTCL board was looking into the matter.
Meanwhile, the three the private Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) operators, who got their license back in August last year, after a 20-month ban for their involvement in illegal VoIP call termination business, are yet to chalk out any viable comeback plan.
Among the three PSTN operators — Rankstel, National Telecom and People’s Tel — which got their licences back, Rankstel announced re-launch of its operations from the beginning of this year. But it has so far failed to do so.
Rankstel officials claimed their re-entry into the telecom market had been delayed due to some technical difficulties. However, they refused to reveal any more details.
When contacted, officials from two other operators said re-launch of their services would take some time as both of them were going through market surveys and re-installation of systems.
Industry experts, however, said the private PSTN operators were yet to chalk out a viable strategy so that they could sustain their operations for a longer period of time.
Amid the remarkable growth rates of mobile operators, land phone operators, including the BTCL, find it very difficult to remain profitable. They will have to start offering multi-scheme packages, as land phone operators of other countries did to survive in the competitive telecom market, an expert said.

-With The Independent input

Related News

bKash communications chief Mahfuz Sadique dies at 40

News Desk : Mahfuz Sadique, chief communications officer of mobile financial services firm bKash, passed away in Bangladesh capital Dhaka Friday morning. He was 40. Mahfuz died around 9:00am while undergoing treatment at a hospital in the capital, bKash said in a statement. Mahfuz, who began his career as a journalist at New Age, ... Read more

Prices for potatoes increase by 229% from the previous year

Prices for potatoes varied from Tk16 to Tk22 per kg at this time last year. News Desk : Despite the presence of both new and old potatoes in the market, potato prices have soared by 229% compared to late December last year. According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the selling price for ... Read more

LGED engineer dead, UNO among 3 injured in Panchagarh car crash

News Desk : An engineer of the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) was killed and three other government officials were injured when the vehicle of a UNO hit a roadside tree in Panchagarh Sadar upazila early today. The deceased was identified as Abu Sayed, 33, upazila engineer of LGED from Pirganj upazila of Thakurgaon. ... Read more

UNHCR calls for rescue of Rohingyas stranded in Andaman Sea

News Desk : The United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has made an urgent appeal to all countries in the region, particularly those in the area surrounding the Andaman Sea, to swiftly deploy their full search and rescue capacities in response to reported vessels in distress with hundreds of Rohingya at risk of perishing. ... Read more

Over 200 RMG workers injured in Comilla while evacuating factory during earthquake

News Desk : Over two hundred garment workers in Cumilla’s Chauddagram have been injured while trying to evacuate the factory building of Amir Shirt Garment Limited during today’s earthquake. A 5.5 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 10km jolted Dhaka, and parts of the country at 9:35am today (2 December). The epicentre of the ... Read more

Daughter hacked father to death in Chattogram

News Desk : A father was hacked to death by his own daughter during an altercation over a trivial matter at Lohagara upazila in Chattogram on Friday (1 December). The deceased was identified as Abdur Rahman, 50, of Putibila Sarai village under the upazila. Police have detained the daughter, Humaira Begum, 23, soon after ... Read more

HSC results: Dhaka has most GPA-5 achievers, while Barishal has highest pass rate

News Desk : Dhaka had the highest number of GPA-5 recipients in the HSC exams, while Barishal Education Board had the highest pass rate among nine educational boards. Education Minister Dipu Moni announced today that the overall pass rate in the nine general boards is 75.90 percent. In terms of pass rates, Barishal ranked ... Read more

PSC postpones 45th BCS written tests

News Desk : The Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to postpone the written tests for the 45th Bangladesh Civil Service examination, which was scheduled to be held on 27 November. The announcement came through a notification signed by Ananda Kumar Biswas, the exam controller of PSC, issued on Friday. PSC held a ... Read more

After stabbing younger sister to death woman ‘kills herself’ in Hazaribagh

News Desk : A woman reportedly killed herself after stabbing her younger sister to death in the capital’s Hazaribagh area today. Police said the incident took place in the Kalunagar area at around 12am on Monday (13 November). The deceased have been identified as Jasmine Akhtar, 44, and her younger sister Nasreen Akhtar, 30. ... Read more

Oman stops issuing new visas to citizens of Bangladesh

News Desk : The Sultanate of Oman has suspended the issuance of visas across all categories for Bangladeshi nationals, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) said on Tuesday. The decision was effective from Tuesday, reported Oman-based English newspaper the Times of Oman referring to the Royal Oman Police. The report said that the ROP confirmed ... Read more

Dhaka girl Nupur takes over as chairman of Unilever for a day

News Desk : Seventeen-year-old Nupur from Dhaka, had the opportunity to take over Unilever’s chairman position for one day on Thursday. There, she symbolically carried out the roles and responsibilities of Zaved Akhtar, the chairman and managing director of Unilever Bangladesh, said a press release. Nupur being an active youth club member, works for ... Read more

Hospitals must follow guidelines, orders HC

News Desk : The High Court on Thursday asked the government to take steps to make it compulsory to follow the relevant guidelines for the prevention of performing unnecessary caesarean section surgery at government and private hospitals and clinics. The court has also directed the government to widely circulate the guidelines within six months. ... Read more

Woman delivers birth to five babies at DMCH

News Desk : A woman has given birth to five premature babies. The quintuplets were born at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) at 10am on Thursday to Mansura Begum, 22, the wife of CNG driver Md Mamun from Bandardia village in Shibpur upazila of Narsingdi district. One of the newborns, however, died shortly ... Read more

Tk8.44 cr fine imposed to Kazi Farms, 3.44 crore to Suguna Food

News Desk : The Bangladesh Competition Commission has fined Kazi Farms Group and Saguna Food and Feeds on charges of market manipulation causing abnormal rise in broiler chicken prices. BCC officials said that the companies must deposit the fine amount to the BCC within 10 working days. If they fail to deposit the fine ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit national museum

News Desk : The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited national museum in Dhaka on Sunday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited national museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list on ... Read more

Fare for Bangladesh-India trains to increase from November 10

News Desk : Ticket prices of three inter-country trains on Bangladesh-India routes are going to be hiked from November 10. The fares are going to increase due to high exchange rate of US dollar and rising travel tax, according to the Bangladesh Railway officials. The trains are – Maitree Express on Dhaka-Kolkata, Bandhan Express ... Read more

Man, nephew killed by lightning

News Desk : A man and his nephew were struck by lightning in Satarbari village of Longair union under Gafargaon upazila of Mymensingh yesterday. The deceased were identified as Sohel Mondol, 40, a trader of pharmaceutical drugs, and his nephew Razib Mondol, 35 a rice trader in the village. Quoting locals, Raju Ahmed, officer-in-charge ... Read more

TV sales decline despite World Cup: Is streaming to blame?

News Desk : The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 captures the attention of sports enthusiasts across the world and an intriguing trend is emerging in Bangladesh’s television market. While events of this magnitude have traditionally led to an increase in TV sales, recent figures from September show a 30% decline compared to the same ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit Paharpur archaeological museum

News Desk : The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited Paharpur archaeological museum in Naogaon on Friday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited Paharpur archaeological museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative ... Read more

Child among three dead as mud walls collapsed in rain in Gazipur

News Desk : Three people including an eight-year-old child died in separate incidents of mud walls collapsing during heavy rain in Sadar and Kaliakoir upazilas of Gazipur. The deceased are Faridul Islam, 8, son of Matiur Rahmon of Konabari Baimile under Sadar upazila, and Imarat Hossain, 65, and his wife Achia Begum, 56, of ... Read more