Mobile internet subscribers will no longer lose the unused data that currently vanishes due to a package's time limit as the telecommunications regulator will soon ask the mobile network operators to allow the customers to use the data even after the date of a package expires.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Vice Chairman Subrata Roy Maitra said, "We were thinking about this problem as we have been hearing about it for a long time. You and I, we all are victims of this problem. We are thinking about how to bring it under control to reduce the users' sufferings."
"We will sit with the operators soon," he added.
The development occurred after Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabber on Monday directed the BTRC and mobile operators to allow the subscribers to use the unused data after the packages' time limits end.
He also asked the BTRC and mobile operators not to set the time limit of a data package for a very short time.
"The system to carry forward the unused data to the next data recharge was in place. But I don't know why it was stopped," Mustafa Jabbar told The Business Standard.
"I have asked the BTRC to start the service again and to explain why it was stopped," he added.
Mustafa Jabbar said currently it is the BTRC's job to ensure that the unused data is carried forward.
At present, the mobile internet users of Grameenphone, Robi, Banglanik and Teletalk networks cannot access their unused mobile data after the time limit of a package expires.
The users do not get the unused data if they do not purchase another data package before the date of their current package expires.
Md Anik Abdullah, a subscriber of Grameenphone's data package, said he often loses 3-4GB data as he cannot use up the data.
Md Foaisal Ahmed, a subscriber of Banglalink, said he bought a 40GB data package for 30 days in September last year to continue his home office. He only could use 7GB in that month as his employer canceled the facility to work from home. Soon after, the package date expired and he lost the remaining data that he got at Tk399.
Robi network users also alleged that they suffer from the same problem across the country.
However, some operators said they carry forward the unused data if the users renew the package before it expires.
Ankit Sureka, Head of Corporate Communications and Sustainability, Banglalink said, "Banglalink customers can already avail the facility of carrying forward the unused data. If a customer purchases a new data pack before their current package expires, and if they both have the same validity period, the unused data of the previous one will be carried forward to the latter."
The second largest mobile operator Robi said the customers will have to pay more money for indefinite data validity.
"We need to remember that such practices of data pricing are not unique to Bangladesh. Rather it is a global practice that we are following here. As a rule of thumb, the higher the flexibility enjoyed by the customer, the higher the data price. In other words, indefinite validity will come at additional cost," said Shahed Alam, chief corporate and regulatory officer, Robi Axiata Ltd.
He also said customers already have the option of using their unused data by purchasing certain data packages.