The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is planning to implement soon the provisions kept in the Access Network Operators Quality of Service Regulation 2018.
The new regulation was gazetted on November 11.
BTRC Chairman Zahrul Haque said the new regulation will help customers get better quality of service.
Haque said that there will be no ‘dillydallying’ in ensuring good quality of service now. “We have given the operators enough time, but the desired quality of service has not been achieved yet,” he said.
According to Section 3(D) of the new regulation, “The BTRC may, on a random basis or in keeping with complaint(s) regarding the QoS issue on a specific zone or area, from time to time through inspection, sample test (or any other measurement method), either by its own officers or employees or through an agency appointed by it or joint measurement conducted with service providers, verify and asses the performance of service providers against the QoS benchmark of each parameter for telecom services.”
The gazette states that the BTRC has fixed the time for disposing of customer complaints relating to mobile phone bills within 28 days. Other complaints should be sorted within five working days.
According to the new parameters, for mobile services, the maximum rate for call drops was set at 2 per cent, while the call setup success rate should remain above 97 per cent. Besides, the operators should ensure that their networks are ready to set up a call within seven seconds.
In terms of customer care, 90 percent of the complaints should take an average of 40 seconds to be heard. At the same time, the BTRC has fixed five working days to resolve the complaints. Operators also need to maintain to a speed of 80 kbps for the 2G internet service downlink and 20 kbps uplink, according to the regulation.
The service providers will have to submit monthly reports on compliance with each of the QoS standard to the commission within 10 days after the end of each month. Along with the mobile phone operators, the regulations cover broadband access services, fixed telephone services and any other services introduced by the BTRC through administrative order from time to time.
Other than that, the BTRC will rank telecom and internet service providers based on different evaluation methods including customer surveys, inspections, audits and test drives.
The gazette said non-compliance with any of the BTRC directives will yield punitive measures for an operator as per Section 64 of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Act 2001. This act also allows the commission to impose up to Tk. 300 crore as fine and five years of imprisonment in the case of non-payment of the fine within timeframe set by the BTRC.
Moreover, the operators should maintain 160 kilobyte per second for the 2G service and 2Mbps for the 3G service in case of the drive test. The uploading speed should be 40Kbps and 128Kbps for the 2G and 3G services respectively. In case of 4G, the operators will have to maintain 7Mbps download speed and 1Mbps upload speed.
The regulations have also mentioned that broadband access services will have to maintain an average minimum 5Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speed in a month.
Under the regulations, every service provider has to meet the quality of service standards for its entire service area with respect of each parameter specified in the QoS regulations. In the fist week of November, the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) said: “Mobile phone operators have urged the BTRC to formulate a coordinated policy on call drops and service quality for all telecom operators that have licences.”
The AMTOB claims that the average call drop rate of the operators is less than 1 per cent and the success rate of call setup is over 47 per cent.
Pointing out that there are four primary reasons why call drops occur, it said such a policy is required to overcome these limitations. It urged the government to consider this aspect before implementing its guidelines on the quality of service.
The BTRC, however, said it has taken initiatives to ensure the quality of service after considering all the aspects.