The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has instructed mobile phone operators to launch two types of new internet data packages that will have no validity and limit. First One is a “volume-based data package without expiry.” But the data has to be used within the same year. The second option is a monthly-based limitless data volumes package that will allow customers to continue using the internet as much as possible, just like a Wi-Fi connection. This is excellent news for the internet users of the country. With the internet being an essential part of our daily lives, this step was necessary. So now, internet users all across the country can use the internet to work, communicate, study, and find entertainment to their heart’s content.
Mustafa Jabbar, telecom minister on this occasion, told The Daily Star “It will have a far-reaching impact on the telecom ecosystem of Bangladesh.” Jabbar, who has advocated for the launch of such internet packages, describes them as a watershed for general customers, as they will increase their participation in the government’s digitization efforts.
Last month, state-run Teletalk launched two internet packages without any expiry date. According to the Telecom Minister, “Teletalk’s time limitless data package has received a huge response. As a result, I think private operators will get more customers with such packages,”.
The managing director of Teletalk, Md Shahab Uddin, agreed, saying the operator was getting a good response. One major inconvenience for many customers is that they can’t consume all the data they have paid for due to the time limit.
BTRC sources report that the new categories of packages will only apply to internet data, not SMS, voice, and social packages. However, an operator can continue offering its current 95 packages across three categories: regular, customer-centric, and research and development packages. Each of these packages has different durations, such as 3-day, 7-day, 15-day, and 30-day.
Sources say Grameenphone has already taken approval from the commission for some packages under two categories and will launch them in days, while Robi and Banglalink follow suit.
Hossain Sadat,the acting chief corporate affairs officer of Grameenphone, said, “We support BTRC’s and the Posts and Telecommunication Ministry’s initiative to introduce unlimited data packages and believe our customers will have more freedom when using the internet. If a private operator launches the service, we will have to do the same.”
However, some officials of private operators have expressed their frustration, saying that such a package could dent their profit. An official who spoke on the occasion, anonymously said, “Providing unlimited data is neither commercially sustainable for operators nor technologically viable since people will use large volumes of data, which will increase pressure on the wireless network,”.
Taimur Rahman, chief corporate and regulatory affairs officer at Banglalink, said offering a package depends on an operator’s strategy. So, there should be flexibility if the operator wants to launch it. The official announcement about the two packages will take place tomorrow, Thursday 28th April, said Subrata Roy Maitra, vice-chairman of the BTRC.