Mobile phone operators have cut the price of internet data packages, apparently under pressure from Post and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar.
Private operators Grameenphone, Robi, Airtel and Banglalink announced the cuts on Friday, 25 days after increasing the costs following changes to data pack rules.
The new rules stipulate that no operator can offer data packs with less than seven days of validity, effective from Oct 15.
“A 15 GB data package with a three-day validity is of no use to the customers. The mobile operators want to keep the validity of these packages low for commercial interests,” Jabbar said when the decision on raising the minimum validity from three to seven days was announced in September.
The operators raised the validity of the three-day data package, but with an at least 30 percent price hike following permission from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
As customers complained about the price hike on social media, the minister met the officials of the four mobile operators on Sunday.
When asked if the operators could resume the old data packages, the minister said: “The old packages do not exist anymore. We brought down the number of data packs to 40 and the validity period to three types. But they can’t increase prices.”
After the prices were cut on Friday, the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh said in a statement that they adhered to regulatory instructions and updated our data product portfolio despite “significant challenges”.
“Unfortunately, within 15 days, we received new instructions, compelling us to make further changes by November 10th. Managing this complex portfolio alteration, we approached the task with respect for the regulator.
“Undoubtedly, the mobile industry will persist in propelling the country's development, positively impacting the lives of millions of Bangladeshis through effective collaboration with regulatory bodies.”
After the readjustments, Robi and Grameenphone’s 1 GB data pack with a seven-day validity is priced at Tk 48.
Banglalink has offered 2 GB internet data, up from 1.5 GB, with a seven-day validity at Tk 69.
Airtel is selling 2 GB internet, instead of 1.5 GB, at Tk 68.