BTRC testing quality of mobile networks for six months

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission or BTRC has launched a ‘drive test’ to monitor the standard of services provided by the mobile phone operators.

Hamstrung by staffing shortages, the regulator has turned to a private firm to provide workforce and transportation for the test in around 300 Upazilas for six months from January.

The commission will monitor dropped calls, level of received calls, call setup time, call success rate and other indicators of mobile telephony services and make a report, according to BTRC spokesman Zakir Hossain Khan. 

The operators will face legal action if their services fail to meet the BTRC standards, Zakir said on Tuesday.

The BTRC is using machines, such as Nemo Walker Air, Invex II, and WindCatcher, for the test.

PI Technology will provide the commission with the workforce and transport under a Tk 4.1 million deal.

The BTRC had run similar tests in 2017 and 2019.

The number of mobile phone and internet users has increased in Bangladesh, but the customers often complain of issues like slow internet speed, network problems, cut-off connections and more fees than use.

Zakir said the customers have filed 550,000 complaints over the services of the mobile phone operators in the past 11 months. The BTRC disposed of 98 percent of the complaints, according to him.

SM Farhad Hossain, secretary general of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators or AMTOB, welcomed the BTRC initiative.

He hopes the BTRC will use technologies to include vehicle speed, location, time of call, standards of handset and other factors in the test as per the AMTOB’s proposal.

The number of mobile internet users jumped to 102.3 million in December 2020 from 93.6 million in the same month of 2019, according to the BTRC.

The mobile phone subscription increased to 170.1 million in December 2020 from 165.5 million in December 2019.

The subscriber base of Grameenphone was 79 million by the end of last year, Robi had 50.9 million customers, Banglalink 35.2 million ad Teletalk 4.9 million.