ICT: For the past few days, B-mobile subscribers in the country have been facing issues with the telco’s services.

Several experiences of data and credit being deducted despite not using any application on their mobile phones were being shared on social media.

The issue began surfacing after Bhutan Telecom conducted a maintenance on July 20, and introduced a new system of deducting data.

However, the director of business with Bhutan Telecom, Chimmi Dorji said that the deduction was not a new scheme started by the company. He said that this (deduction) of data is a normal deduction for using internet services.

Chimmi Dorji said that the series of data being deducted could be attributed to the software and applications on the mobile phones being updated.

“When an individual is not connected to internet for a long period of time, his applications on the phone gets out-dated,” said Chimmi Dorji. “Once these devices are connected to internet, the application starts updating. This is when their data are deducted for the updating process.”

The director added that when it comes to data charging, at any given point of time, a person could only latch to a network. For example, people have also shared that when they use Wi-Fi services and their 3G is still enabled, credit is still deducted.

“I don’t understand why my data is still being deducted even when I’m using Wi-Fi and not 3G,” Karma Wangchuk, a corporate employee, said.

Similar observations were also made by other B-mobile users starting last week.

“The deduction is not limited to only one time but a series of deductions amounting to Nu 0.1 to Nu 0.8 are deducted,” said Tshering Pem, a student. “This is very expensive if we are to add all these amounts. We should know why we are made to pay this amount when we are not using any applications on 3G.”

Chimmi Dorji said that, in principle, deduction cannot happen in two ways because a person can only latch on to a single network at a time, either 3G or Wi-Fi. In this way charging can happen only once, he said.

The director said that as long as the 3G network is enabled, subscribers will be liable for charges for using the internet. He said that if such deductions are to be reduced, people should enable 3G only when it is to be used. He urged that the 3G be disabled when not in use.

B-mobile users have also questioned the operator’s requirement to maintain a minimum of Nu 15 credit to use data services. Many users  discovered this scheme recently.

However, Chimmi Dorji said that this requirement has been there since 2014.

He said that it was a scheme adopted by the company as a business proposition. The proposition was considered in line with the emergency needs of the users.

Chimmi Dorji said that the proposition is open to review based on feedback from users. “We can always change the minimum amount to Nu 5 or even zero. We have that provision.”

Meanwhile, Bhutan Telecom is working to decongest the 3G network in the country and especially in Thimphu. To share the 3G load, 300 access points (APs) for Wi-Fi offload and BT Wi-Fi in Thimphu have been installed. By the end of the year, an additional 500 more APs will be installed in Thimphu.

Younten Tshedup