Prothom Alo illustration

People have to pay more as changes are made in the type and price of mobile internet packages. Especially the low-income people who are suffering the most.

According to the BTRC decision, the telecom companies augmented the price illogically last month. The price was somewhat decreased facing adverse reactions but the packages did not return to their former state.

According to Prothom Alo news, BTRC finalised a new directive regarding mobile data packages on 3 September. According to that the mobile operators were asked to close the 3-day and 15-day packages and limit the package number to 40 within October 15.

Last year the organisation fixed a limit of 95 data packages including 3-day, 7-day, 15-day, 30-day and unlimited ones.

Upon the instructions of BTRC, the operators dropped the internet packages of 3-day and 15- day on 15 October. Only 7-day, 30-day and unlimited internet packages remain. The operators then increase the price of the said package. the 1 GB 7-day duration package is priced at 69 taka now. Earlier it was 46 taka.

According to BTRC sources, 69 percent of customers use 3-day internet packages. Those who do not have the ability to buy a 7-day package are mostly harmed by the decision of BTRC. Moreover, many use the short-term data away from home despite having internet connections at home or work place.

Secretary general of association of mobile telecom operators’, AMTOB, LT COL Mohammad Zulfikar (RETD), said those who use short-term internet due to financial reasons will be most affected due to the change of package types. Many internet users may be dropped.

In the letter sent by the BTRC to the operators after observing the adverse reaction of the customers, it is said to keep the price and volume of the three-day Internet package unchanged and only extend the period to 7 days. That is, even if the period is extended, the price of the package cannot be increased.

The 2023 'Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Usage Survey 2023' says that 43.6 percent of households in the country are using the Internet. In 2022, this rate was 38.1 percent. In that case, if there is no short-term package of 3 days, there is a danger that this growth of internet usage will decrease.

BTRC is saying, short-term packages are more prone to fraud and non-usage of data. In that case they should have taken effective measures to stop cheating. Instead of going through that route, what BTRC has done is tantamount to cutting one's nose to spite one's face.

Our question is, why this experiment with mobile phone internet packages? Mobile phone companies provide services to customers. None of them demanded package reduction. So, did this decision was taken according to the will of a certain person?

Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar's hint of increasing package prices after the election is also not logical. It is in no way right to make the most essential services like internet packages a subject of electoral politics. Restore the internet packages of the mobile phones to its old state.

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