Government Policy

BTRC asks cellcos to deposit unused money of deactivated SIMs

DHAKA, Feb 12, 2017 (BSS) - Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has directed five mobile phone operators to deposit the unused money and database of deactivated SIMs before resale.

The regulator also set seven days for it, otherwise punitive measures would be taken against the defaulter operators, said officials.

BTRC Secretary and Spokesperson Sarwar Alam today told BSS that they have sent the letter to Banglalink, Robi, Airtel, Citycell and Teletalk this afternoon directing them to deposit the money along with database within next seven days.

"We've also issued show cause letter to the five operators, except Grameenphone, for their failure to comply with the earlier directives regarding the issue," he added.

Alam also said the operators have been asked to give explanation within 10 days for the non-compliance.

On January 31 this year, the regulator has decided to allow the reselling of mobile SIMs or RUIMs, which have been deactivated on or before 2008 due to improper re-registration.

At the same time, it will also allow the reselling of SIMs or RUIMs that have been deactivated on or before 2014 through SIM Box detection or self-regulation of the mobile operators.

To this end, BTRC directed the operators to deposit the unused money and database of the deactivated SIMs within ten days.

Only market leader Grameenphone deposited the unused money of Taka 9.36 crore for 25 lakh SIMs that was deactivated due to improper re-registration or by the self-regulation.

But, Banglalink, Robi, Airtel, Citycell and Teletalk violated the BTRC directives. Airtel has now merged with Robi.

The BTRC decision comes at a time when there is a growing call for creating a scope for using the deactivated SIMS against the backdrop of the rising number of mobile subscribers in the country.

Mobile operators in the country are currently using 11 digit numbers as per the numbering plan of the BTRC going back to 2005. The total capacity of current numbering plan is 10 million numbers.

In this context, top mobile operators like Grameenphone and Banglalink have already applied to the telecom operator seeking another number prefix to continue the selling of SIMs.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)