Telcos asked to block 26 lakh illegal SIMs | Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 31, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 31, 2019

Telcos asked to block 26 lakh illegal SIMs

The telecom regulator has made a list of about 26 lakh illegal SIMs and urged the mobile operators to deactivate the connections on April 26.

The SIMs were registered exceeding the permissible limit of 15 mobile connections against every national identity card.

The number of mobile connections of each operator will be disclosed on April 3 and the operators will then communicate with the users and deactivate the illegal ones.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) shared the information with the telecom operators on March 27 in a meeting presided over by Mohammad Azizur Rahman Siddiqui, a director of the commission.

“We have found that youths are involved in most of the cases. In some cases, a huge number of SIMs were found registered against each of the NIDs of some businesspeople,” said a senior official of the BTRC.

Law enforcing agencies have frequently been finding a lot of active registered and biometrically verified mobile connections involved in criminal activities, he said.

On March 28, the BTRC through a letter warned the mobile phone operators on informing of the decisions taken a day before and warned them of stern regulatory measures if the SIMs were not deactivated on time.

Earlier in November 2017, the BTRC instructed the telecom operators not to register more than 15 SIM cards against an NID card, scrapping an earlier provision that allowed an individual to own 20 SIM cards.

But the telecom watchdog could not monitor whether the order was implemented due to the absence of a Central Biometric Verification Monitoring (CBVM) platform.

After establishing the platform with the help of local software company Synesis IT, the BTRC has even found an NID against which 42,000 SIMs were registered.

Any subscriber can find the total number of SIM cards registered against his/her NID card by dialing the USSD code *16001# from their handsets and then providing the last four digits of their NID card number.

In Wednesday's meeting, officials of mobile operators have informed the regulator that the data of 70,000 SIM cards of Robi, 45,000 of Grameenhpone and 12,000 of Banglalink were yet to be synchronised with the CBVM platform on different grounds.

The BTRC also instructed the operators not to activate any SIM card without biometric verification through the CBVM system from April 20.

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