Telecom: While the two telcos are pushing forward to decongest their network and provide a better telecommunications services to the public, issues regarding poor services keep hovering over the two telcos.

While internet speed has improved relatively, B-mobile users have recently experienced exorbitant deductions of data while using internet on their phones.

A B-mobile user in Thimphu said that within a period of half an hour, more than Nu 30 is being deducted on 2G. He added that while some improvement has come about recently in the network, the charges on internet usage have increased drastically.

However, officials from Bhutan Telecom (BT) said that the telco has not revised their data charges.

BT CEO Tshewang Gyeltshen said that with faster internet speeds, the use of data will also increased which directly translates to increased charges. “Often automatic updates happening in our phones are the culprit behind unintentional consumption of data.”

Tshewang Gyeltshen said that while consumers might find it difficult to understand the reasons behind such technical issues, with the right applications and change of habits, the amount of data consumption can be brought under control.

He added that keeping a track of their data usage will also help consumers know how and where the data is being used on their phones.  Usually in android phones, they have an inbuilt data monitoring feature and for iPhone users, provision can be found under the cellular feature under settings.

The CEO also urged the consumers to be mindful of push notifications, automatic video play on social media apps, video streaming and switching off the mobile data when not in use.

Officials from BT said that the telco strongly believes that data is the future and therefore, they have invested a significant amount of resources on the technical infrastructure to improve internet speeds.

In their quest to upgrade their system and decongest the network, BT has recently increased their channel capacity from 384 to 512, including the installations of new Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs). The Radio Network Controller (RNC) was also upgraded to a much higher capacity and the pipe size to the internet has been increased from 1GB (Gigabyte) to 10GB on the core network.

The average internet traffic of BT’s network last month was 775.72 Tbps (Terabyte per second) and the average internet traffic is 3.636Gbps. The telco’s present international bandwidth is 5.62Gbps.

The top six internet destinations of BT customers on the internet are Google (1100Mbps) followed by Facebook (500Mbps) and Akamai (200Mbps).

However, on some issues associated with voice calls, Tshewang Gyeltshen said that the telco does admit that there has been only marginal improvement as their main focus was on data. “Having addressed the data speed issue to a large extent, we are now focusing on voice front as well,” he said.

The average voice traffic from mobile network to fixed lines/international is 572 calls per minute. Outgoing calls from international/fixed to mobile network is 613 calls per minute.

For international calls, there are 128 incoming calls per minute and for local, 370 outgoing calls per minutes. According to the telco, on an average 94 percent of calls for both incoming and outgoing are to India and average calls within B-mobile network per day is 100,529 Erlangs which equals to 603,174 minutes.

Tshewang Gyeltshen assured that technical glitches in the charging system are not being overlooked and the technicians are regularly double-checking the system to ensure there are no loopholes and shortcomings.

He said that after the July 20 technical glitch, customers have become sensitive. “We did receive a few complaints who were doubtful of the charges being levied. However, we have explained to them on the data consumption along with their detailed session charges after which, most of these customers were convinced.”

The CEO said that BT is committed towards building one of the best mobile networks in the region to give the best experience to the customers.

Younten Tshedup