Why does the annoying ring back tone keep ringing when calling a telecom number?

Lately, new caller ring back tones (CRBT) are being played every day when calling the mobile numbers of Nepal Telecom. Not only the CRBT but also the user’s SMS box is being filled with such messages. In case of public awareness and national calamity, not only for the communication of very important information, but also the private mobile of the consumer has been made a communication medium for conveying government messages on various national days. In this way, the users have started complaining after the telecom started playing the ring back tone repeatedly.

Journalist Gajendra Budhathoki has requested to stop such ring back tones through a social media post. “I pay you a monthly fee for using your services,” Budhathoki wrote, “I pay 28 percent tax to your government. Why do you offer services that I did not ask for? Turn off your unnecessary ring back tone.”

Similarly, a mobile user of Telecom, ‘Pildhare Bahun’ (name of X handle) mentioned Hello Sarkar on X on Monday and asked, “Why do we have to suffer the punishment of ring back tone?”

Similarly, infrastructure development expert Dr. Suryaraj Acharya writes on social network X, “Unnecessary ring back tones should be stopped at times other than very important public information (like during Covid). A few days ago, one of my foreign friends was confused as to whether the call went to someone else with such a ring back tone. Later I called back and said.

Kriti Shrestha, another customer of the telecom, is of the opinion that the ring back tone set by the telecom is not appropriate. Through X Post, Shrestha has suggested to Telecom to keep a ring back tone that is meaningful, matches the situation and does not make the user uncomfortable.

Regarding the ring back tone, Facebook user Umesh Subedi wrote, “We will pay for the recharge, will the telecom steal money by playing advertisements in the ring back tone?” Shouldn’t we understand whether we want to listen or not?”

Similarly, another social media user, Shankar Karki, writes on Facebook, “When a person is under any stress, what pain is he going through. At that time, when you call your friends and relatives, the caller ring back tone that rings again and again saying the same notification, is becoming a cause of mental stress today. Any such annoying ringtone ads should be stopped immediately.”

Karki further wrote, “We have to pay to have the ring back tone we want, and we have to listen to their advertisements. If you want to give any kind of information advertisement, don’t give it to radio, social network, TV magazine. A phone is completely connected to a person’s personal life and it is wrong to use it at will.”

Not only the Republic Day held by Telecom on 14th and 15th June, but also the ring back tone played by Telecom every time has been opposed. “In the morning, we hear on mobile, Mr. Speaker, corruption is a crime – the Commission for Investigation,” Nepali Congress leader MP Chandra Bhandari asked in an angry tone while speaking in Parliament last year, “Who is stopping the arrest after opening the file by the Commission for Investigation? what is this This drama, is the drama being staged?”

When the government, which runs radio, television, newspapers and even news agencies, started looking at mobile phones as a means of communication, the customers of the telecom companies were really fed up.

As Nepal Telecom itself is a government-owned company, it cannot refuse requests from various government agencies. Accordingly, new ring back tones are played every day. However, Ncell being a private company is not bound to accept all such requests.

Authority says we must keep: Telecom

Hari Dhakal, the spokesperson of Nepal Telecom, says that most of the customers complain about the ring back tone. “Some people complain about the color ring back tone,” Dhakal told Tekpana, “We are a government company. Therefore, we should do what our regulatory body Nepal Telecommunication Authority has given us. It is also good for public awareness, educational and message information.

He further said, “Though sometimes notices are given, most of the caller ring back tones are played on the authority’s instructions. We did not like them. There is also an obligation that we have to keep after the authority sends it.

Dhakal said that the authority receives requests for ring back tones from other agencies and the authority instructs the telecom to implement those ring back tones.

Last month, at a program titled ‘Challenges and Opportunities in the Telecommunication Sector’ organized by the Technology Journalists Forum (TJF), Senior Telecom Engineer Madhusudan Dahal said that voice traffic is decreasing. “Looking at the statistics of the telecommunication sector till date, the golden age is seen in 2016 and 2017,” Dahal said while presenting the statistics, “because at that time, the income was about 105 billion. Now we are only at about 73 billion.”

According to Senior Engineer Dahal, Telecom’s income has decreased by 30 percent in 2022/23 compared to 2017/17. Dahal mentioned that the main reason was the decrease in voice traffic. He had earlier said, “If we look at the voice traffic, it has increased towards 2016/17. Only this time has earned the best revenue. When OTT slowly started to penetrate the market and the revenue is decreasing.”

According to the data presented by Senior Engineer Dahal, it seems that the customers are attracted towards OTT instead of Voice of Telecom. .

“It is a reality that voice traffic has decreased due to OTT,” Telecom spokesperson Dhakal said, “The color ring back tone is not that good in terms of user experience. However, we cannot say that we are not playing because of our regulatory criteria.”

He said that although there were several internal discussions regarding the ring back tone, since the largest body is the authority, he is forced to accept what he said.

“We are trying to figure out how to manage it,” Dhakal said, “taking feedback from customers as well.”

However, since all these instructions are given by the authority, Telecom cannot do anything on its own, he said. “Our traffic decreases by five percent on the day we keep the ring back tone,” said a telecom employee on the condition of anonymity, “Ring back tone is annoying. So customers are attracted to OTT.”

‘Corcussive ring back tone not good for ‘digital wellbeing”

Advocate Baburam Aryal says that the color ring back tone is a matter of connection with digital well-being. “There may be a right not to listen to anything other than what you have subscribed to, but this is a matter related to hygiene,” said Advocate Aryal, “The Telecommunications Act also says that service providers must help in an emergency.” The government can issue orders regarding natural calamities or matters of national concern.”

The mobile service provider signs the contract between the service provider and the customer while distributing the SIM. Nothing about ring back tone is mentioned in such a letter.

Telecom representatives also support it. Experts argue that the telecom company has violated the contract by not mentioning such issues when making a contract with the customer.

“Playing the ring back tone on all days and occasions has become like telemarketing,” Aryal continued, “Unless I subscribe, I am not forced to provide services that I do not want.” It would be better if the customer put a tick mark on the subscription form to mention what services are to be taken.

He is of the opinion that it will be in the interest of the customer to provide the service only if the customer accepts the service provided by the telecom provider. He suggested that the color ring back tone should be used only for conveying information on social responsibility issues and during natural disasters.

If you don’t turn off the annoying ring back tone, we’ll file a complaint: Consumer Rights Forum

General Secretary of Consumer Rights Forum Vishnu Timalsina said that ring back tone should be universally accepted. “It is recognized that no caste, language, religion, sect, political ideology should have a special ring back tone,” General Secretary Timalsina said, “For that we also filed a complaint with the Consumer Interest Protection Forum to the Telecommunication Authority.”

He complains that the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has not yet made a concrete policy decision, despite the intention of the authority to make improvements after the complaint. He further said, “Other ministries and government agencies send letters to the Ministry of Communication. After that, the Ministry of Communication was forced to give instructions to the Nepal Telecommunication Authority. And, the authority gives instructions to the telecom company.”

He said that the general public is fed up with hearing the ring back tone on matters that have no interest and concern. “There should be a policy on what is acceptable or what topics should be ring-back tones,” said Timalsina, adding, “There should be arrangements to play ring-back tones only during earthquakes or natural calamities and on issues of public concern.”

He said that if information is to be transmitted in a limited area and the help of ring back tone is needed for that, ring beacons should be placed in such a way that they ring only in that area. He opined that keeping a ring back tone in every festival and event could lead to internal conflict between different castes, languages, religions and sects.

“For example, why make the citizens of other religions listen to the ring back tone set for Hinduism. More than that, it was possible to keep a ring-back tone on an acceptable subject related to humanity,” added Timalsina, “Thus, playing a ring-back tone against the interests of the consumer on irrelevant matters is imposing an unnecessary burden.”

Therefore, he said, the platform is of the opinion that by making a clear policy, it should keep a ring back tone only on issues related to public interest and humanity. General Secretary Timalsina argues that by keeping a ring-back tone on the basis of the instructions, it has attacked the ethnic, religious, communal and political ideologies. “It is not good to impose anything against the interests and opinion of citizens. It is wrong to say that it will change the opinion of the general public by setting a ring back tone unnecessarily,” he added.

Consumers are analyzing how much the telecom provider has prioritized the subject and kept the ring back tone. In that case, they may get angry if they find that festivals or days that match their ideology are given less priority. Therefore, he argues, ideological conflict can be created by keeping a ring-back tone on issues other than human interest.

“Carrying an unnecessary burden on consumers while taking services by paying money is against the interests of consumers,” he said.

He is of the opinion that the government should make a clear policy regarding ringtones and end the system of playing whatever ringtone the ministry wants to play. He warned, “If the questions raised by us for the benefit of consumers are not addressed or if the Nepal government does not fulfill our demands, we will go to the complaint process.”

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