People are taking more digital services now than during other times amid the government-declared general holiday, Mahatab Uddin Ahmed, chief executive officer (CEO) of Robi, said during a Facebook live session today.
"Online activities are on the rise as people are trying to avail services from web platforms, which is a positive side of the coronavirus situation in the country amid all the negative impacts of the epidemic," Ahmed, also managing director of the mobile operator, said as he joined their customers through Facebook for the first time.
Facebook streams and YouTube usage have also increased in the country, while many people working from home has helped surge data use, said Ahmed. "But most importantly, people who were not taking digital services before the coronavirus situation are now also trying to access online banking, pay bills through online platforms and use the mobile financial services to run their regular activities smoothly," he said.
Ahmed, also president of the Association of the Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB), said they have reduced internet data prices drastically and redesigned their packages to target people who are staying home and are dependent on mobile data for their work, and entertainment and educational activity in case of students.
"With Robi, other operators have also reduced the data prices but this has caused a loss in revenue," Ahmed added.
Robi's data revenue has reduced by 10 percent even though usage grew by 20 percent, while voice revenue declined by 40 percent as people are talking less using mobile platforms, he said.
About 2,000 customers attended the one-and-half hour long session where they also raised complaints over network congestions.
In reply, Ahmed said they were not ready for a surge in data usage in this situation and at the same time their equipment sourcing had also become difficult because of the global coronavirus situation.
Robi is also trying to create a fund to support the poor and donate testing kits to the government, he added.