Rohingya Camps: 3G, 4G mobile services resume after a year | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 29, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:23 AM, August 29, 2020

Rohingya Camps: 3G, 4G mobile services resume after a year

3G and 4G mobile services in Rohingya camp areas of Cox's Bazar resumed yesterday after the government suspended the services around a year ago. 

"As per the instructions of BTRC, we have restored 3G and 4G connectivity in Teknaf and Ukhia in the morning," Shahed Alam, chief corporate officer at Robi Axiata Ltd, told The Daily Star.

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Sources in the telecom companies said they got the instructions from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) at 10:00am yesterday.

The decision to lift the restrictions, imposed around a year ago, was made on Sunday at the meeting of a national taskforce chaired by Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan.

The taskforce on Wednesday sent a letter to the posts and telecommunications ministry to this effect, officials said.

The decision to lift the restrictions comes amidst repeated calls from UN agencies, local, national and international NGOs, and humanitarian aid workers. They have been saying that the restrictions hinder the desperately needed services and access to information in the world's largest refugee settlement.

The BTRC in September last year directed all telecommunication operators to shut down 3G and 4G services and to block all services, except voice calls, in the Rohingya camp areas of Ukhia and Teknaf.

Officials said the decision was made to stop the refugees from using WhatsApp, Viber, and WeChat.

It was said that the Rohingyas used the apps to contact people in Myanmar. The apps were also used for committing crimes in the country, officials said.

A technical committee of the telecom regulatory commission also found that Rohingyas of Ukhia and Teknaf upazilas of Cox's Bazar were using around three lakh mobile connections of local carriers.

The operators were then asked not to sell SIMs to the Rohingyas.

On Monday, Foreign Secretary Masud bin Momen in a webinar disclosed the government's decision on lifting the restrictions.


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