Telcos start biometric registration of SIMs
Mobile phone operator Banglalink launched biometric registration for new subscribers on a trial basis on Wednesday, while other operators will start similar projects today.
Biometric registrations began at Banglalink's 12 outlets, said Taimur Rahman, a senior director of Banglalink.
The operator is set to start biometric registrations at another 209 points shortly, said.
Earlier, the government fixed November 15 as the deadline to launch the biometric system for new subscribers.
It will be become mandatory for all phone users from December 16.
All mobile operators have already established connectivity with the national identification database of the Election Commission, so that collected fingerprints can be verified.
If any SIM is found to be registered under fake IDs, the users will be asked to re-register with a genuine national ID. The SIMs will be cancelled permanently if users fail to meet the deadline.
Operators will be charged Tk 2 for every single access to the national database for verification. Mobile operators said they have already bought fingerprinting devices and trained their retailers and distributors.
Ekram Kabir, vice president of communications and corporate responsibility at Robi, said they are fully prepared for the initiative, and will start taking users' fingerprints at 40 outlets today.
Grameenphone will launch the services at about 80 outlets.
Six operators are spending about Tk 100 crore to launch biometric registration in an effort to bring more transparency to the sector, according to an estimate by industry leaders.
Biometric registration, re-registration and verification of all 13 crore subscribers will be completed by March, and the regulator will fine the operators if SIMs are found with fake registrations after the deadline, said State Minister for Telecom Tarana Halim.
The prime minister's ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy launched the pilot project at the Posts and Telecom Division on October 21, by buying a new SIM of Teletalk and having his fingerprint scanned on a biometric device connected to the EC database.
The government in September announced that all mobile phone users will have to re-register their numbers, in a move aimed at preventing people from using cellular networks for criminal activities.