Tuesday, 25 January, 2022

BTRC moves to check malpractice by mobile VAS operators

BTRC moves to check malpractice by mobile VAS operators

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has moved to check deceptive practices in providing telecom value-added service (TVAS) to mobile phone users.

The move is aimed at bringing discipline in the overcrowded value-added service business and the service providers under a regulation.

To this effect, the BTRC has formed a six-member committee on November 3 to probe the malpractices in value-added services provided by the mobile phone operators, sources said.

The telecom regulator has asked the inquiry committee to submit a probe report within 30 working days after observing the overall activities of the operators and any deceptive practices and breaches of rules in this regard.

MA Taleb Hossain, director of Enforcement and Inspection Section at BTRC, told the Daily Sun that the move has been taken to stop fraudulence with users in the name of providing value-added services.

“We have started working on it. Now we are collecting data on how the VAS are been delivered to customers, who are operating those services and their service modalities and connectivity,” he said.

“Some 30 working days have been given. We will submit the report within the stipulated time,” said MA Taleb Hossain, who is leading the committee.

The TVAS refers to that telecommunication services-other than the core services (voice call, SMS, data) -- that add value to the core services and are electronically consumable and deliverable through any access network services using direct operator billing and/or any payment method approved by the central bank.

As per the definition of TVAS, the mobile phone operators are providing various services, including welcome tunes, voice messages, news alerts, missed call alerts, call block, call forwarding or diverting, music, videos, mobile games and streaming services, balance transfer, through mobile carriers under a revenue-sharing model and customers are charged by mobile phone operators. In written directives, the BTRC urged the authorities concerned to run a probe into the matter in line with the TVAS guidelines, National Numbering Plan 2017, Infrastructure Sharing guidelines, policy of shortcode allocation, cellular mobile phone operators guidelines, and conditions set by the BTRC during the issuance of licenses.

Earlier in a probe report, the BTRC claimed that almost half of mobile users in the country have been paying for the TVAS without giving any consent. Even the service providers are activating the TVAS stealthily.

It has also been found that the VAS operators mostly target the people who use feature phones and the services are activated after midnight.

To protect the interest of the subscribers, the BTRC on September 14 instructed mobile phone operators to implement an OTP-based authentication procedure to activate VAS services by September 30.

As per the BTRC, a total of 183 TVAS licence holders are operating their services in the country.