There is no scope for providing better speed and Internet services, due to high tax and low spectrum, said Bangladesh's second largest mobile network operator Robi Axiata Ltd.
Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of Robi, made the remark at a press conference on Wednesday in the wake of Bangladesh's ranking as 135th out of 137 countries by Ookla Speedtest in terms of mobile internet speed.
The country is only ahead of Afghanistan and Venezuela, according to the June report of Ookla that provides analyses of Internet access performance metrics.
"We [mobile network operators] always try to improve the service quality. As part of that endeavour, we have already procured all the designated spectrum for 3G and 4G services," said Mahtab.
At the virtual programme, Shahed Alam, chief corporate and regulatory officer for Robi, said spectrum limitation was one of the barriers to better Internet speed.
Robi had procured additional spectrum at the last auction, he said, adding that users would experience better Internet speed once the new spectrum was brought into effect.
Lack of fibre optic connectivity is another reason for slow Internet speed, he said. Only 20% of Robi's sites are fibre-connected and Internet services are disrupted if the overhead optical lines are cut off by other utility service providers.
Shahed Alam also questioned the authenticity of the Ookla report, saying, "Such reports are mostly paid for [by interested parties] and do not represent the exact picture. They collect data from third parties since we do not share our data with them."
'Getting back unused data may cost more'
Journalists at the programme asked the Robi CEO whether it was justified taking back unused Internet data from customers when the data packs expired.
The CEO said it was a business model and was being practiced globally.
"Once a user buys a 7-day package, it means he or she will have to use it within the seven-day time frame. For example, when a traveller buys a ticket on an offer in advance, he cannot get back the money if he does not travel," he said.
Robi's chief corporate and regulatory officer said, "If the users want back the expired data, it may cost more since every flexibility has a price."
At the press conference, Robi officials said the company's consolidated net profits stood at Tk46.63 crore, and earnings per share at Tk0.09 in the April-June quarter, which was Tk58.37 crore and Tk0.12 respectively in the corresponding period last year.
During this second quarter, Robi's consolidated revenue increased by 15% to Tk2,030 crore relative to the same period last year.
Its subscriber base grew 8.1% compared to the same quarter last year, while its market share reached 29.4% at the end of June.