The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has issued a directive to mobile phone operators and internet service providers to stop offering free social media services to their customers.
The regulatory commission asked the entities concerned to implement the directive from July 15, though it circulated the letter on July 16.
The BTRC said the telecommunication service providers are offering free or partly-free social media services to acquire more subscribers to their fleets.
However, the regulatory commission asked the operators to stop the service because some people are taking advantage of the services to commit crimes.
Currently, Grameenhpone, the largest operator in the country, allows its subscribers to use Facebook and Prothom-Alo, games and much more – free of cost – through its EasyNet service.
Through the EasyNet platform, customers can enjoy free: internet browsing, attractive internet packs, free games, free internet packs, and different applications.
When asked, Md Hasan, head of external communication, said they are in the process of implementing the directive.
Robi Axiata Limited, the country's second largest operator, offers such facilities under its Facebook Lightswitch service. Robi's official website says users can always stay connected to Facebook with their mobile internet, even with zero balance.
On the other hand, Banglalink, the third leading operator, has this offer under its Emergency Internet service. The internet will connect, whether users have a balance or not. To avail the service, a user has to dial *875# for emergency internet.
Ankit Sureka, head of Corporate Communications and Sustainability at Banglalink, told The Business Standard that they got the letter on Thursday (July 16). However, they started implementing the directive on Friday (July 17).