The much-awaited mobile number portability (MNP) service was launched today “commercially on a trial” basis in Bangladesh.
The service has opened up the users’ freedom of choice in switching to any network, retaining the existing number unchanged, which was not possible earlier for the hassle of changing number.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) announced the introduction of this service at a press conference at its office this morning.
“Although at this moment, activities of MNP have been started “commercially on a trial” basis but the customer can enjoy full operation of the service,” said BTRC Chairman (acting) Md Jahurul Haque.
A total of 17 mobile phone users have switched to another operator till 12:30pm of the first day of introduction of this service, he revealed.
Haque said the customer has to pay a total of Taka 158, including Taka 50 VAT for the service and Taka 100 with TAX for SIM replacement.
The regulator assigned Infozillion Teletech BD, a consortium of Infozillion BD Limited and Teletech DOO, Slovenia, through issuing license in
November last year to offer the MNP service. It was directed to run operation within 180 days of getting the license but, failed to comply with the order for the non-compliance of mobile phone operators.
Replying to a query, the BTRC chairman said the charge for MNP service would decrease gradually if it appears that the operator is making much profit.
However, many mobile phone users are being barred by the operators while they tried to avail MNP service. Several customers of a top operator alleged that they have been rejected when they started the process of switching to another operator.
Infozillion Teletech BD Managing Director Mabroor Hossain said that as per the BTRC rules; mobile phone users must collect new SIMs from the customer care of the desired operator. “Within a particular time, the new SIM card would be activated.”
He said they have taken initiative to complete the porting within 24 hours for prepaid users.
Infozillion Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lt. Col Mohammad Zulfikar (retd) said the user intending to switch to new operator under the MNP service has to give related information and documents such as NID number and picture during collection of a new SIM.
“Though the regulator has given a timeframe of 72 hours to activate the SIMs, Infozillion assures the customers that the process would be completed much earlier,” he said.
If any user again wants to change operator, he/she has to wait 90 days, added Zulfikar.
About the unused talk-time and data, BTRC’s Director (system and Service) Lt. Col Azizur Rahman Siddiquee said as per the rules, the unused talk-time will remain deposited at the previous operator for two years. “If the user doesn’t return to the previous operator within two years, the future of this talk-time would be decided in consultation with Bangladesh Bank.”
In the case of data, he said, the user has to switch operator leaving the unused data as it is subscribed for a particular period and package.
BTRC Chairman, however, advised the users to finish talk-time and data before switching.
Regarding the outstanding bill, BTRC Director General (Engineering and Operations) Brig Gen Mustafa Kamal said users have to pay the bill before switching.
BTRC Commissioners Rezaul Quader and Aminul Hasan along with officials concerned were present on the occasion.
The government hopes that the MNP will lead to greater competition in the market and improved services.
According to the BTRC, currently 72 countries across the world offer MNPservices. India began MNP services in 2011 and Pakistan launched them in 2007.