No bar to launch eSIM now
The bar on launching eSIM services has been finally removed as the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has set the tax regime for the sale of eSIM by operators.
According to an NBR letter to the telecom regulator and operators on April 21, Tk 200 has to be paid as VAT for each eSIM, similar to that for the regular SIM card.
Earlier, Grameenphone (GP) announced that they would be launching the eSIM on March 7.
However, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) withheld the launching of Grameenphone eSIMs citing concerns over a lack of clarity centring revenue collection from the issuance of these new SIMs.
On top of that, the BTRC said Grameenphone had not taken prior permission.
"We have served a show cause notice to the GP, after getting the reply we will consider it," BTRC Chairman Shyam Sunder Sikder.
"We have no objection to allowing the launching of such a service in principle. But, without taking any permission no operator can do it. That is why we have issued them a show-cause notice," he said.
But sources in Grameenphone said they have already taken the commission's permission to launch the service.
"The customers can avail e-SIM from tomorrow (Monday)," said an official of the top operator today.
On April 7, the BTRC said upon receiving the NBR's greenlight, the GP could launch the service.
The eSIM or embedded-SIM is a SIM card that can be electronically programmed into a mobile phone without the need for manual insertion.
It works just like a regular SIM but does not require a physical card, and only works on devices with pre-installed eSIM support.
Many countries, including some of the neighbouring countries, have already launched this service. If the service is launched, Grameenphone will be the first eSIM provider in Bangladesh.