Dhaka, June 12 (UNB) – Subscribers on Wednesday vented their anger at the poor services provided by different mobile phone companies in the country.
At a public hearing arranged by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB), they raised various complaints, including weak network, slow internet speed, deception in the name of internet packages, SMS and ad nuisance, call-drop and Facebook insecurity.
BTRC Chairman Md Jahurul Haque who presided over the public hearing said he himself is not happy with the mobile operators’ services. “No one is satisfied with the technology as it keeps changing.”
He also said some of the complaints were resolved instantly while the rest will be sorted out soon.
The BTRC chief also said they have decided to keep their call centre open 24/7 to receive complaints from customers.
Currently, the call centre remains open from 9am to 5pm every day except holiday.
Jahurul said BRTCs’ revenue income is now Tk 10,000 crore which was only Tk 3.45 crore in 2001.
He said problems surface while doing good work. “The problems cannot be resolved overnight.”
About advertisement through mobile phone, the BTRC chairman said he himself is also embarrassed with it.
He also said they are going to take steps to this end.
About Facebook, Jahurul said Facebook does not listen to them. “It acts sometimes whenever BTRC makes any request as there’re huge customers,” he said.
Talking about the radiation from mobile towers, he said they are implementing the guidelines given by the High Court to this end. “We’ve examined (towers) and there’s nothing to be worried about.”
Dhaka, Jun 12 (UNB)- Bangladesh’s leading digital service provider, Robi, on Wednesday announced its partnership with the largest global multilingual streaming service, ZEE5.
Robi and Airtel customers will now have access to over 1,00,000 hours of entertainment content across 17 languages, including a vast Bengali content library on ZEE5. Besides this, the Bangla dubbed content on ZEE5 also allows Robi and Airtel customers to enjoy the very best of non-Bengali entertainment content.
Robi and Airtel customers can choose between a daily or a weekly subscription pack to enjoy the content available on ZEE5. The daily pack is priced at 7 taka and the weekly pack is priced at 45 taka only. Through this partnership, customers will also be able to easily pay for a ZEE5 subscription from their mobile balance, if they are pre-paid customers, or have it included in their monthly bills, if they are post-paid customers of Robi and Airtel.
ZEE5 Originals will also be a special draw for entertainment enthusiasts in Bangladesh, as this content is only available on ZEE5. ZEE5’s rich library also includes more than 60 LIVE TV channels, along with movies, best loved TV shows, health and lifestyle videos and much more.
A key focus area of the partnership between Robi and ZEE5 will be to work closely with the eminent Bangladeshi actors/actresses with the aim of taking Bangladeshi content to international audiences. ZEE5’s presence across 190+ countries will enable our local entertainment industry to get exposure to international audiences and thereby get an opportunity to expand their market beyond Bangladesh. ZEE5 is committed to work with leading Bangladeshi artistes to make this a reality.
Additionally, Robi and ZEE5 will soon arrange a talent hunt programme to search for local Bangladeshi artistes for ZEE5’s Original shows. The details of the programme will be disclosed in due course.
Customers can choose to access ZEE5’s huge content bouquet through the country’s largest 4.5G network or through WiFi network from anywhere in the country. Robi and Airtel subscribers can access ZEE5 from five different devices at a time, allowing them complete freedom to watch the world class entertainment content on mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, smart TVs, etc.
Robi and Airtel customers can also enjoy uninterrupted streaming without any ads with their ZEE5 subscriptions. Users now don’t have to wait for a particular time in a day to watch their favourite ZEE programmes. Thanks to ZEE5, they can now watch their favourite shows anytime and as many times as they want.
Dhaka, June 12 (AsiaNet/UNB)- Infobip, a global cloud communications company for businesses and leader in omnichannel engagement is enabling mobile messaging solutions for Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (DESCO), an organization under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources that serves nearly one million consumers in northern Dhaka.
By using Infobip's omnichannel solution, DESCO can choose the optimal communication channels for specific types of messages, available on a single communication platform. These channels include SMS, and a number of chat app channels such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook Messenger, RCS, Push and more.
DESCO is currently using a two-way Application-to-Person (A2P) SMS, which is helping and reminding their customers with billing related notifications such as due date for bill payment, late payment reminders and payment confirmations.
Infobip is helping DESCO to better serve its customers as they are now able to conveniently review their billing information and receive short-term or long-term power outage notifications via A2P SMS.
"We are looking forward to increasing our customers trust, loyalty, ease and satisfaction by utilizing mobile messaging," said Brig. Gen. Md Shahid Sarwar, Managing Director of DESCO.
"We are thrilled to help DESCO enhance their customer experience in enabling an efficient billing dialogue where customers can quickly receive answers on a particular statement or payment inquiry. We're also looking forward to introducing DESCO to additional messaging solutions enabling customer dialogue over chat apps, RCS, and E-mail to name a few," said Md. Rahad Hossain, Country Manager of Infobip Bangladesh.
Infobip powers enterprises to deliver messages across any channel, any device, at anytime and anywhere worldwide. Infobip's technology creates seamless mobile interactions between businesses and people as well as simplifying the integration of almost all communication capabilities. With over a decade of industry experience, Infobip has expanded to include more than 60 offices on six continents offering an in-house developed messaging platform with the capacity to reach over seven billion mobile devices in 190+ countries connected to over 800 telecom networks. The company serves and partners with leading mobile operators, messaging apps, banks, social networks, tech companies, and aggregators.
New York, Jun 12 (AP/UNB) — A group of state attorneys general led by New York and California filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday to block T-Mobile's $26.5 billion bid for Sprint, citing consumer harm.
The state attorneys general said the promised benefits, such as better networks in rural areas and faster service overall, cannot be verified, while eliminating a major wireless company will immediately harm consumers by reducing competition and driving up prices for cellphone service.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement that combining the two companies would reduce access to affordable, reliable wireless service nationwide and would particularly affect lower-income and minority communities in New York and other urban areas.
Other attorneys general joining Tuesday's lawsuit are from Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Virginia and Wisconsin. All 10 attorneys general are Democrats. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in New York.
The lawsuit is an unusual step by state officials ahead of a decision by federal antitrust authorities. The Justice Department's decision is pending. The Republican majority of the Federal Communications Commission supports the deal , though the agency has yet to vote.
Too many "mega mergers have sailed through the governmental approval process," so it's up to the states to "step up," James said at a news conference.
"There's no rule or regulation that we have to wait for the DOJ," she said. She added the attorneys general will "continue to litigate whether the DOJ approves the merger or not."
Diana Moss, the president of the American Antitrust Institute and an advocate for tougher antitrust enforcement, said the states' lawsuit could signal to other potential merger partners that there would be tougher enforcement from states even if the federal government permitted deals to go through.
James said Tuesday that her office's renewed focus on mergers and anti-competitiveness goes beyond the tech industry, though she did not elaborate.
T-Mobile and Sprint have argued that they need to bulk up to upgrade to a fast, powerful "5G" mobile network that competes with Verizon and AT&T. The companies are appealing to President Donald Trump's desire for the U.S. to "win" a global 5G race.
Consumer advocates, labor unions and many Democratic lawmakers worry that the deal could mean job cuts, higher wireless prices and a hit to the rural cellphone market.
Amanda Wait, an antitrust lawyer and former Federal Trade Commission lawyer, said states are acting because they disagree with what they have seen the federal government doing.
"They see the FCC accepting certain remedies and concessions that don't, in their minds, solve the problem," she said.
T-Mobile declined comment. Sprint and the Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
One famous example of when the states and federal government diverged on a big antitrust case was in the fight against Microsoft, although that was not a merger case. Several states dissented from the Justice Department's settlement roughly 20 years ago, pushing for tougher sanctions to curtail Microsoft's ability to use its dominance in the Windows operating system to thwart competition in other technologies.
More recently, in the Bayer-Monsanto agribusiness merger, five states last year criticized the federal government's approval.
T-Mobile and Sprint previously tried to combine during the Obama administration but regulators rebuffed them. They resumed talks on combining once Trump took office, hoping for more industry-friendly regulators.
T-Mobile has a reputation for consumer-friendly changes to the cellphone industry. T-Mobile and Sprint led the return of unlimited-data cellphone plans, for example.
T-Mobile, trying to reassure critics, promised the FCC it would build out a 5G network and invest in rural broadband on a specific timeframe or pay penalties. It also promised to sell off Sprint's prepaid Boost Mobile brand and keep price increases on hold for three years.
That was enough for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to back the deal. The other two Republican commissioners indicated they would join him.
But public-interest advocates said these conditions did not address concerns about higher prices and reduced competition— and would be difficult for regulators to enforce.
The Justice Department evaluates deals using stricter criteria than the FCC's "public interest" standard — namely whether they harm competition and raise prices for consumers. Staff attorneys at DOJ have reportedly told the companies they won't approve the deal as proposed, but the ultimate decision lies with Makan Delrahim, the top antitrust official who is a political appointee.
The state attorneys general said in Tuesday's lawsuit that combining Sprint and T-Mobile would make the industry as a whole — Verizon and AT&T, too — less likely to offer plans and services that consumers like. And they say the companies have already been working to roll out 5G and don't need to combine to do so.
Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank owns Sprint, while Germany's Deutsche Telekom owns T-Mobile.
Hartford, Jun 11 (AP/UNB) — With no computer or internet at home, Raegan Byrd's homework assignments present a nightly challenge: How much can she get done using just her smartphone?
On the tiny screen, she switches between web pages for research projects, losing track of tabs whenever friends send messages. She uses her thumbs to tap out school papers, but when glitches keep her from submitting assignments electronically, she writes them out by hand.
"At least I have something, instead of nothing, to explain the situation," said Raegan, a high school senior in Hartford.
She is among nearly 3 million students around the country who face struggles keeping up with their studies because they must make do without home internet. In classrooms, access to laptops and the internet is nearly universal. But at home, the cost of internet service and gaps in its availability create obstacles in urban areas and rural communities alike.
In what has become known as the homework gap, an estimated 17% of U.S. students do not have access to computers at home and 18% do not have home access to broadband internet, according to an Associated Press analysis of census data.
Until a couple of years ago, Raegan's school gave every student a laptop equipped with an internet hot spot. But that grant program lapsed. In the area surrounding the school in the city's north end, less than half of households have home access.
School districts, local governments and others have tried to help. Districts installed wireless internet on buses and loaned out hot spots. Many communities compiled lists of wi-fi-enabled restaurants and other businesses where children are welcome to linger and do schoolwork. Others repurposed unused television frequencies to provide connectivity, a strategy that the Hartford Public Library plans to try next year in the north end.
Some students study in the parking lots of schools, libraries or restaurants — wherever they can find a signal.
The consequences can be dire for children in these situations, because students with home internet consistently score higher in reading, math and science. And the homework gap in many ways mirrors broader educational barriers for poor and minority students.
Students without internet at home are more likely to be students of color, from low-income families or in households with lower parental education levels. Janice Flemming-Butler, who has researched barriers to internet access in Hartford's largely black north end, said the disadvantage for minority students is an injustice on the same level as "when black people didn't have books."
Raegan, who is black, is grateful for her iPhone, and the data plan paid for by her grandfather. The honors student at Hartford's Journalism and Media Academy tries to make as much progress as possible while at school.
"On a computer — click, click — it's so much easier," she said.
Classmate Madison Elbert has access to her mother's computer at home, but she was without home internet this spring, which added to deadline stress for a research project.
"I really have to do everything on my phone because I have my data and that's it," she said.
Administrators say they try to make the school a welcoming place, with efforts including an after-school dinner program, in part to encourage them to use the technology at the building. Some teachers offer class time for students to work on projects that require an internet connection.
English teacher Susan Johnston said she also tries to stick with educational programs that offer smartphone apps. Going back to paper and chalkboards is not an option, she said.
"I have kids all the time who are like, 'Miss, can you just give me a paper copy of this?' And I'm like, 'Well, no, because I really need you to get familiar with technology because it's not going away,'" she said.
A third of households with school-age children that do not have home internet cite the expense as the main reason, according to federal Education Department statistics gathered in 2017 and released in May. The survey found the number of households without internet has been declining overall but was still at 14 percent for metropolitan areas and 18 percent in nonmetropolitan areas.
A commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, Jessica Rosenworcel, called the homework gap "the cruelest part of the digital divide."
In rural northern Mississippi, reliable home internet is not available for some at any price.
On many afternoons, Sharon Stidham corrals her four boys into the school library at East Webster High School, where her husband is assistant principal, so they can use the internet for schoolwork. A cellphone tower is visible through the trees from their home on a hilltop near Maben, but the internet signal does not reach their house, even after they built a special antenna on top of a nearby family cabin.
A third of the 294 households in Maben have no computer and close to half have no internet.
Her 10-year-old son, Miles, who was recently diagnosed with dyslexia, plays an educational computer game that his parents hope will help improve his reading and math skills. His brother, 12-year-old Cooper, says teachers sometimes tell students to watch a YouTube video to help figure out a math problem, but that's not an option at his house.
On the outskirts of Starkville, home to Mississippi State University, Jennifer Hartness said her children often have to drive into town for a reliable internet connection. Her daughter Abigail Shaw, who does a blend of high school and college work on the campus of a community college, said most assignments have to be completed using online software, and that she relies on downloading class presentations to study.
"We spend a lot of time at the coffee shops, and we went to McDonald's parking lot before then," Abigail said.
At home, the family uses a satellite dish that costs $170 a month. It allows a certain amount of high-speed data each month and then slows to a crawl. Hartness said it's particularly unreliable for uploading data. Abigail said she has lost work when satellites or phones have frozen.
Raegan says she has learned to take responsibility for her own education.
"What school does a good job with," she said, "is making students realize that when you go out into the world, you have to do things for yourself."