A M K Chowdhury
It will be a serious understatement to say that the land phone service of the Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) has long been unsatisfactory because of corruption among its so-called line-men and probably other fourth class and third class employees. Unless a subscriber greases their (line-men’s) palms on a regular basis his telephone will remain out of order and will not work.
Many subscribers told me about this problem caused by these thoroughly corrupt line-men who are often found cutting off wire of the phone line with a pair of pliers (a small tool with two handles for pulling small things like nails, or for cutting wire). When approached they demand Taka 1200 (twelve hundred) for wire. And this happens at least once a year. For this reason many private subscribers have abandoned their land phones out of disgust and frustration.
The BTCL authority should do well to rectify the problem.
Teletalk’s smallest subscriber base
Teletalk Bangladesh Limited, whose brand name is ‘Teletalk’ is the only public sector GSM and 3G-based mobile phone operator in Bangladesh that started operating in 2004. As on August 31 2016, Teletalk has a subscriber base of 2.925 million—-the smallest number of subscribers—-as against 54.5 million subscriber base of Grameen Phone.
The call centre number of Teletalk is 121 redirected to 2. Its attendants are not attentive. When you lodge a complaint the person on the other end says that the problem will be solves in 24 hours; but problem remains. Then you call again and seek redress at which point she\he will answer in the same manner. Even after 48 hours they cannot solve the problem.
Teletalk recharge problem
Even in Dhaka city you will not find recharge facility in 50% of the shops where the Teletalk recharge agents give Teletalk flexiload in a very irregular manner.
Compare this base with Grameenphone, widely abbreviated as GP, is the leading telecommunications service provider in Bangladesh.
According to a news report, the government wants state owned mobile operator Teletalk to merge with an appropriate foreign company so that it can survive in a competitive market and provide better services to subscribers. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave such an order to officials concerned at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) at the NEC conference room at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the capital.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said, “The prime minister gave an order to them ( Teletalk) to search for an appropriate foreign company to merge with to become a competitive player in the market and provide better services to their customers.” Contacted, State Minister of the Post and Telecommunications Division Tarana Halim refused to make any comment on the issue.
Teletalk is looking for funds to develop the fourth generation mobile network, although the planning commission has suggested going for a public-private partnership.
The project will cost about Tk 2,500 crore, according
With more than 54.5 million subscribers and 46.3% subscriber market share as of August 2016, Grameenphone is the largest mobile phone operator in the country. It is a joint venture between Telenor and Grameen Telecom Corporation, a non-profit sister concern of the microfinance organisation and community development bank Grameen Bank.
Robi Axiata Limited, DBA Robi is the second largest mobile network operator of Bangladesh. It is a joint venture between Axiata Group Berhad, of Malaysia, Bharti Airtel Limited, of India and NTT DoCoMo Inc., of Japan. Axiata holds 68.7% controlling stake in the entity, Bharti holds 25% while the remaining 6.3% is held by NTT DOCOMO of Japan.
It has been reported that the government has urged Indian businesses, including Tata Communications, to invest in Bangladesh’s telecom sector, especially in state-owned mobile operator Teletalk. State Minister for Telecom Tarana Halim placed her proposals before the Indian telecom giant and other Indian investors in several meetings held in Kolkata.
The Indian entrepreneurs were urged to invest in any Bangladeshi telecom company they want, officials who attended the meetings said. Tata showed its interest to invest in Bangladesh’s telecom sector and discussed related regulatory issues. Tarana, who is now on a four-day visit to Kolkata at the invitation of the West Bengal government, shed light on the potential of Bangladesh’s telecom sector at the meetings.
As we are aware, Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL)is the largest telecommunications company in Bangladesh which was earlier known as the Bangladesh Telegraph & Telephone Board (BTTB). On July 1, 2008 the BTTB became a public limited company and was renamed as BTCL which provides land-line telephone services in Bangladesh’s urban areas, including domestic long-distance call and internet services.
BTCL provides dial-up Internet access in all 64 districts of the country, making it the most-accessible Internet service provider in the country. As of January 2009 its total dial-up subscriber is 32,433. Since the beginning of 2007 BTCL have improved its Dial-up Internet service for better customer satisfaction. It also handles the .bd domain.
Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) suffered revenue loss of at least Tk2,000 crore in last six years due to corruption, revealed a TIB study April 31, 2014. Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) identified tampering with the BTCL’s international call records as one of its major corrupted areas.
Bangladesh’s state-owned telecommunications company is refusing to reconnect a British firm to the country’s network despite having been ordered to do so by the courts. London-based Zamir Telecom has been cut off from the Bangladesh network since March, causing it significant financial damage.”Tk 2,000cr lost for graft in 6 years”. The Daily Star. 1 May 2014.
The last decade has brought the first wave of the truly mobile generation which is built around mobile phones, short messaging service (SMS), and portable electronic assistants, says ASA University Review, Vol. 5 No. 2, July–December, 2011. The mobile communications industry has been one of the most flourishing sectors within the ICT industry
and, in general, within the economy. Grameenphone and Robi are the biggest mobile phone operators in our country and their contribution is very great to our economy.
The research has provided insights like what are positive and negative aspects of both of the operators. For instance, the total number of customers of Grameenphone are very high than Robi. Grameenphone Company spent a large amount of money in the establishment year for the tower purpose and is doing better for the network facilities.
On the other hand, Robi is doing better in case of call rate, low price SIM card, friends and family number facilities, bonus system etc.
Robi needs to improve its poor network coverage, problem related to SIM eplacement, insufficiency of the scratch card and easy load facilities, lack of convenient location of the service center and discount facilities etc.
On the other hand Grameenphone is in a better position in comparison to Robi. It is doing better in case of following services like network coverage, effectiveness of network, solution of the problem related to SIM replacement, reconnection and migration, availability of the scratch card and flexi load facilities, location of the service center etc. But it can not be said that its services is much attractive to the customers. It has some other problems like lack of limited friends and family (FnF) number facilities and lack of bonus system (Free talk time, SMS), high call rate, lack of special offers to the customers, lack of pulse facilities etc. If GP takes initiative to remove or reduce these drawbacks, then it will be more successful in the telecommunications industry of Bangladesh.