Sunday, January 15, 2006 - Bangladesh Telecom

BTRC asks mobile operators to stop free late night calls

The Bangladesh Telecommuni-cations Regulatory Commission has asked mobile phone operators to discontinue free-call facilities late into the night, with a view to protecting ‘the young generation from the erosion of moral values’.

The commission on Monday asked all the five operators to discontinue free-call facilities as it had received numerous complaints from guardians and others that the facilities were causing moral degradation and change in lifestyle among young people, said a highly placed BTRC source on Friday.

'The commission has taken the decision as it received scores of telephone calls and written complaints from parents for end to such free late-night call facilities,' said a BTRC policymaker.

The official said parents had registered complaints to the commission that with free late-night call facilities, their children indulged in long chats with friends or romantic partners, which was hampering their studies and changing their lifestyle.

'The free phone call offer does not conform with the country’s values and culture, put ill effect on young people and promote romantic relationship between opposite sexes which is usually frowned at by our Muslim-dominated society,' said the official.

Moreover, an intelligence agency of the government also pressed the commission to ban the free call on the same ground.

Currently, two mobile phone operators — GrameenPhone and CityCell — are offering free phone calls for their 'djuice' and 'Alap Super Plus' packages respectively between 12:00am and 6:00am targeting the young segment of the population as part of their sales promotion campaign to boost the number of subscribers.

Mobile phone operators said they were yet to receive any such directive from the commission.
'GrameenPhone has not received any such directive,' said a spokesman of the company.
However, the mobile operators termed the government action as 'ridiculous.'
'The ground of ban is ridiculous, and if the government does so, it should also ban all the restaurants, fast food joints and universities on the same ground,' said an official of GrameenPhone.

'While mobile operators in Bangladesh battle to outdo one another by offering customers the best possible features, such a move would dampen the competition,' said an official of CityCell.

Bangladesh has seen a rapid surge in mobile phone subscriptions over the past three years with more than 100 per cent growth.

Currently, five mobile operators have around one crore subscribers while the sixth, Warid Telecom, set to start its operation within nine months.


At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You required some correction. Currently AKTEL also offer free phone call.

Its true Bangladeshi mobile market competition increasing day by day and operator also come up with offer the end result customers are gaining more. Previously customer's paid Tk 7, now Tk 4, may be this year call rate operator will fight more. But Govt... you are really generous, I have headache so cut the head. If you see Indian market, operator are more aggressive to have free call and air time.


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