While the telecommunication services go on upgrading, however, the service delivery remains poor, especially the 3G internet service. The unreliable service has left many subscribers in Thimphu and other dzongkhags frustrated, especially when important work needs to be done online and the network is moving painfully slow or not working at all.
The B-mobile said they are working on improving the services as soon as possible to clear the congestion and make it reliable.
“It is not that the 3G services are not strong, but basically, we can tell you why people are facing congestion. In 2013, we had a tremendous growth for 3G subscription. Beginning of the year, we had just 20, 000 registered users for 3G services but by the end of 2013, we had close to 120,000 subscriptions for 3G,” said the General Manager, B-mobile, Bhutan Telecom, Pushpa Mani Pradhan.
He further explained that B-mobile is coping with the rapid customer growth and there are not sufficient resources to give speedy 3G services to all subscribers.
“It is not that it is very bad, but during peak hours, when lots of users are there, you do face congestion and we are definitely working to improve further by increasing the number of base stations for which customers are used to access the internet,” he added.
B-mobile is planning to expand the core network around Thimphu, which is expected to take time as the equipment needed for network expansion is being shipped from Sweden.
“It takes 5-6 months for delivery and after that we do the installation and all. So, hopefully by end of the year, we will see some improvement, we have been trying to improve as far as possible,” the General Manager, B-mobile said.
He said he did not come across many complaints other than the congestion problem due to a heavy numbers of users.
Many subscribers are yet to see the improvement in the 3G services from B-mobile, but 4G services are being introduced by the company.
“There is a reason why we are doing that, when you face congestion in 3G network, we lay the 4G network, so that some of the customers can switch over to 4G, and then 3G will be free for other users. It would bring better experience to the customer and basically that is the idea,” Pushpa Mani Pradhan explained.
He added that 4G may be little expensive initially, but it will help ease the 3G network congestion.
He also said 4G is a technological trend and B-mobile is keeping abreast with the advance in telecommunications technology.
Meanwhile, talking to one of the service users, a 25-year¬old teacher, Jurmi Dorji, said because of the slow internet connection he is not able to view emails or attach files. He said the internet speed fluctuates a lot, and at times, the 3G service functions just like the 2G service.
The 3G services started in 2008 and 4G services in 2013.