Dhaka: The Bangladesh Mobile Phone Consumers Association has called for reinstating short-term packages, lowering the price of the package and making the cost of internet affordable by reducing the tax rate and calling for a public hearing if necessary.
This demand was made in a press conference on Thursday (November 9) at Segunbagichasth Crime Reporters Association (Crab) auditorium on increasing the price of internet and resolving package complications.
The president of the organization Mohiuddin Ahmed presented the main speech in the press conference. The organization’s fellow professor Dr. was also present. AKM Riazul Hasan, BAS General Secretary Comrade Rajekuzzaman Ratan, Consumer Organizer and Market Analyst Kazi Abdul Hannan, Central Member Advocate Saheda Begum, Dr. Aminul Islam, President of Mobile Phone Traders Recharge Association Aminul Islam Bulu, Secretary of the organization Sheikh Farid and others.
Speakers at the press conference said that the Bangladesh Mobile Phone Consumers Association had long warned the government and the regulatory body BTRC about the unstable situation that has arisen due to the increase in the price of internet after the decision to cancel the short-term packages. If our words were taken into account then, today’s situation with the price of internet could have been avoided.
The Muthofon Consumers Association was against the cancellation of short term internet packages like 3 days from the beginning.
Because almost 70 percent of customers were using packages of 3 days or less before the implementation of the new guidelines. Those customers are now forced to use the 7-day validity package. Mobile operators have also informed BTRC and the media at various times that the price of internet will increase if the package of short duration like three days is cancelled.
We also feel that overall internet value has increased due to reduction in the number of packages to 40 for customers. As a result, on the one hand, the freedom of the customer to choose the package has been undermined, and on the other hand, it has given the opportunity to the operators to increase the prices. Due to the cancellation of short-term and low-cost internet packages used by low-income and marginalized customers, the cost of internet usage has increased for consumers, such a stubborn decision at a difficult time is depriving the marginalized population of access to the internet.
Speakers said, we know, operators cannot release any internet package in the market without the tariff approval of BTRC. After the cancellation of the three-day short-term packages, the packages that are now in operation in the market have also received approval from BTRC. With the price reduction talks going on now, are we to assume that operators are selling packages without BTRC’s approval? The new directive to reduce the price of the package released in the market with the approval of the regulatory body proves that there is no minimum coordination between the ministry and BTRC. The Minister of Posts and Telecommunications cannot avoid this responsibility of price increase in any way.
The press conference also said that another move to change prices less than a month after the decision to cancel the short-term package would create confusion in the market. Multiple interventions in price control in a short period of time will confuse the consumers on the one hand and on the other hand it will also disturb the competitive environment of the market. The initiative to reduce the price of internet only on the occasion of elections is questionable. Because, if the price increases again, then who will take the responsibility? As a result of the decision to increase the price, will the customers be reimbursed at all for the extra money spent by the customers in the last one month?
In general, all short-term packages including 3 days have been reinstated, the price of internet has been reduced more than before, the burden of additional tax on the price of internet has been reduced to be bearable, the limit has been lifted on the package of the customer’s choice, the adjustment of the additional money that the customers have had to spend in the last one month due to the decision to increase the price. It is demanded to stop customer confusion about the number of packages and arrangements.
Bangladesh Time: 1845 hours, November 09, 2023