Will be able to call 999 even without your network

Mobile phone users will soon be able to call 999 or any other emergency numbers without a mobile SIM card or internet access during natural disasters. Any live mobile network can be used to make the call.   

A trial run on this by a joint team of the disaster management division, telecom regulator and army officials in the last two days proved to be a success.   

During the trail, it was found that if a user found their mobile network down or destroyed, they could still immediately contact the authorities using the emergency number. 

Currently 999 is used for emergency situations. It was developed by the information communication division in 2017 and is being currently run by police. 

Every mobile phone, both smart and otherwise, have an emergency calling option, which can now be used for free, said a member of the joint team.

The government now needs to make a regulation on the “SIM-less” emergency service can be used, he added.

“Against this backdrop, mobile operators need to align their network with this system and then users can access these facilities,” said Md Zahik Hossain Khan, senior assistant director of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).

“It’s like a normal call. The joint team has tested it by removing their SIM cards and they found response,” Khan, also the spokesperson of the BTRC, said.

The emergency number can prove very useful in cases of natural disasters, mostly in the coastal belt of the country, where mobile towers are often damaged. If even one mobile network is live, then mobile phone users can use that for the calls, said a senior member of the armed forces division.

He said in some developed countries these kind of channels already have been introduced. 

“We have done our part; now the government needs to formulate a policy for it, which will be a milestone of our resistance against natural disaster.”

To make this initiative successful, the joint team will bring all mobile operators under a single network and take support from Chinese network vendor Huawei, they said.

BTRC officials said mobile operators would be directed to facilitate the emergency services. 

The trial for the initiative was held in Purbachal, Dhaka and Rangpur. Government and Rural Development Minister Md Tazul Islam and State minister for disaster management and relief Md Enamur Rahman were present.


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