Teletalk is offering 3G broadband Internet at 512kbps speed violating the minimum broadband Internet speed limit of 1MBps set by the telecom regulator. Meanwhile, Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi and Airtel have only generic Internet packages for customers and do not differentiate between a 2G or 3G subscriber, but they claimed to have separate user base for both the segments.
State-run mobile phone operator Teletalk is offering 3G broadband internet at 512kbps speed violating the minimum broadband internet speed limit of 1MBps set by the telecom regulator. Other private mobile phone companies, on the other hand, do not mention the speed of their internet packages while offering to the customers — in an apparent attempt to deceive the customers which is under investigation by the telecom regulator. Teletalk under its 3G prepaid dongle packages also offer data packages at 256kbps speed which is considered at 2G speed according to the industry standard. The company’s 3G data package, however, offers reaching up to 4MBps. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission in 2013 in a notice said that any broadband offer must have at least 1MBps speed; otherwise, it will be counted as narrowband. ‘I am not aware of any rule for mandatory 1MBps service for 3G broadband. We offer 512kbps speed and we deliver what we offer,’ Teletalk managing director Gias Uddin Ahmed told New Age when asked about the issue. He said the data packages were designed after the market assessment, ‘And we have designed our packages based on the practicality of the country and the customers.’ Meanwhile, Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi and Airtel have only generic internet packages for customers and do not differentiate between a 2G or 3G subscriber, but they claimed to have separate user base for both the segments. Although the majority of the country’s mobile phone users are under the 2G network, which is a slower data transfer technology than 3G, the mobile operators are charging same prices for packages for both 2G and 3G users. The BTRC has recently launched an investigation to check how the private operators are designing their data packages and communicating those to the customers. ‘We are working on the issue already. After finishing the assessment we will soon submit a report,’ a BTRC official told New Age on Sunday. As a state-owned company Teletalk launched the country’s first 3G service in October 2012 on test-run with a condition that it would pay the auctioned price of the spectrum after the auction was complete. The government on September 8, 2013 auctioned 3G spectrum when four private operators took part. Grameenphone took 10MHz at a cost of $210 million, and Banglalink, Robi and Airtel took 5 MHz each at the price of $105 million. BTRC officials said the regulator had several times asked Teletalk to pay its dues but the top management of the mobile phone operator did not even reply to their letters.