General

Rgulator to raise watch over telcos as call drops rise

Currently, there are four telecom operators — Grameenphone, Robi, Banglalink and Teletalk, according to Shyam Sunder Sikder, the chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Commission (BTRC).

“But in the wake of the rising number of complaints, including call drops and slow internet services, against these operators, we have decided to increase watch over their networks. The move is aimed at ensuring quality services to subscribers,” he told UNB.

The BTRC chairman said that the commission also plans to update the existing guidelines for the telecom operators.

“Besides, adequate spectrum is needed to ensure quality services to customers. We will encourage the operators to purchase the necessary spectrum for interrupted services. If needed, we will hold a meeting with the telecom firms,” said Shyam Sunder.

Talking about the manpower crisis in the sector, the BTRC chairman said, “We are going through not only a human resources crisis but also some technical difficulties.”

“The ISP licence holders are involved in sharing data. And it is our responsibility to ensure uninterrupted services to customers. We are working towards that,” he said.

When will 5G be available?

The government intends to roll out 5G by 2023, according to the BTRC boss. “Already we have launched 4G services. Now, we are preparing to allocate new spectrum for 5G mobile operators and soon a policy will be finalised,” he said.

Illegal handsets

Unauthorised mobile phone handsets will be blocked with effect from July 1. “All makes of mobile phones will have to go through the mandatory registration process in Bangladesh,” Shyam Sunder said.

“BTRC plans to launch the National Equipment Identification Register (NEIR) on July 1 this year. And no illegal handsets will be allowed to be used in the country’s telecom network after that date,” he said.

In December last year, BTRC signed an agreement with local company Synesis IT to identify and disconnect handsets that were brought to the country illegally.

From January 16 this year, mobile operators have started informing their subscribers about the need to use handsets with a genuine International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number only.

Mobile phones with fake IMEI numbers will be detected through the National Equipment Identity Register (NEIR) and disconnected from network, according to the regulator.

The number of mobile subscribers in Bangladesh touched 162.920 million in April 2020, according to BTRC data.

Of the total subscribers, Grameenphone has 74.361 users. Robi Axita has 48.843 users, Banglalink Digital Communications 34.876 and Teletalk Bangladesh 4,840.

Besides, the total number of internet users stood at 101.18 million in April 2020.

Source: United News of Bangladesh