BTRC launches enquiry
The telecom regulator has launched an enquiry into the mobile phone operator Grameenphone’s move to sell its old numbers at prices up to Tk 30,199 per connection.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission officials said such high prices for SIM connection were not permitted by the BTRC. They said GP only took permission for selling its old numbers starting with 01711, which were no longer in use, but there was no mention about the prices for the numbers.
‘After reaching 5 crore active subscribers, GP said it had some old numbers under its initial prefix of 01711. So the commission allowed the company to sell the old numbers,’ a BTRC official told New Age.
According to GP offer, the company is selling old numbers at Tk 30,199 for old premium category A and at Tk 2,000 for old premium category B under the ‘Get Special, Be Special’ campaign.
A regular SIM of GP is available only at Tk 150 to Tk 200 where the company pays government Tk 300 tax per SIM.
‘We have noticed the GP campaign to sell its old SIMs at huge prices and launched an enquiry into the matter as it doesn’t seem lawful,’ BTRC secretary Md Sarwar Alam told New Age on Monday.
He said that commission took the issue with due priority and would soon come to a decision.
‘We are highly concerned about the consumer rights in telecom services and we will prove that with action,’ he said.
Asked about the issue, GP’s head of external communication Syed Talat Kamal told New Age that the company was unaware of any such regulatory move.
‘As far my knowledge we did not receive any such query from the BTRC until now,’ he said.
Another BTRC official said initially GP submitted the proposal to System and Services Division of the BTRC but failed to get approval from the division.
‘Later it moved the application to Engineering and Operation Division and got it passed from there,’ he said.
He said the commission was also looking into whether GP notified the owners of the old numbers before offering those to new customers.
‘As far as the telecom service is concerned, the old numbers do not provide any added facility than the regular numbers. It is irrational when a company sells its same product with such a price difference,’ he said.
-With New Age input