Mobile phone users are not getting quality services as the operators are unable to allocate sufficient spectrums for the customers. The spectrum provided by the operators is quite large but nowhere near enough to meet the users’ demand.
Mobile operators claim that they are unable to buy more spectrums due to the high prices and by default fail to provide quality services.
According to experts there are numerous sub-standard cell phones that do not support faster 3G and 4G services. As a result 2G services still have to be provided for users who do not use 3G/4G supported phones. They think that it’s one of the reasons below-the standard services.
Meanwhile, operators claim that spectrums are most expensive in Bangladesh than other countries. They say that if the prices can be reduced, voice call services can be provided for much cheaper.
Currently, Grameenphone (GP), the operator with the largest subscriber base, has 37 Megahertz (MHz) of spectrum against which there are 72.3 million customers.
Similarly Robi has around 47 million customers against 36.4 MHz and Banglalink has over 33 million customers against 30.6 MHz.
A 2018 data shows that during the third quarter of the year, GP had allocated spectrum of 0.518 MHz, Robi allocated 0.814 MHz and Banglalink allocated 0.948 MHz for each user.
Moreover, operators say that the number of users for 1MHz spectrum is between 200,000 and 1.76 million in Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, Malalaysia has between 100,000 to 220,000 users for the same spectrum while, Vietnam has 740,000 to over 1 million, Sri Lanka has between 81 thousand to 271,000, Pakistan has between 580,000 to 1.4 million, Thailand has 350,000 to 1 million, Afghanistan has 10,000 to nearly 300 thousand, Nepal has around 44,000 to over 500 thousand, Germany has over 300,000 and Australia has over 82,000 to over 100,000 users.
Responding to queries on the matter, Telecoms and IT Minister Mustafa Jabbar said, “My concern in the telecom sector is quality of service.”
He added that new policies have been drafted to ensure that the operators provide quality services to the customers. He said that the customers must be provided service that is worth their money.
Meanwhile, Robi Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Head Shahed Alam reiterated that purchasing more spectrums was becoming increasingly difficult due to steep prices.
“We need more spectrums to overcome the issues,” he said adding that it will be possible to lower the voice call prices if the spectrum prices could be dropped.
Calling on authorities concerned to lower the prices, he said that they will purchase more spectrums and by default provide the users with better services.