BTRC revokes mobile signal blocking in border areas

Mobile Network in Bangladesh Borders Area

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) now reversed their decision of blocking mobile phone operators’ signals up to a kilometre from the borders.

The authorities sent an email to all the mobile operators early today in this regard.

On Sunday evening, BTRC asked all the mobile operators -- Grameenphone, Robi, Banglalink, and Teletalk -- to restrict their network up to a kilometre from the borders.

But now they have revoked the instruction officially, according to an email sent to the mobile operators by Md Sohel Rana, a deputy director of BTRC’s spectrum management division.

“In this connection, please reinstate operations of the BTSs (Base Trans-Receiver Stations) near the Bangladesh-India boarder sites immediately,” the email reads.

Mobile carriers also confirmed that they have started to up their network again but it will take about a day to fully reinstate the mobile networks of those areas as some of the towers are in very remote areas.

"As per the directive from BTRC, we have already started reactivating the BTSs located along the border areas. The reactivation process will take a while to complete since a lot of BTSs are involved here. We thank the affected customers for keeping patience with us," Shahed Alam, chief corporate and regulatory officer of Robi Axiata Ltd, told The Daily Star.

Due to the previous decision, about one crore subscribers in 32 districts which have borders with India and Myanmar were affected.

A senior executive of a carrier said that about 1,500 mobile towers were turned off and that also affected few kilometres area inside the country.

Earlier when the tower blocking decision came, Post and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar told The Daily Star that this was not their decision and they just carried it forward.

He, however, said the decision was made following a consensus of three to four ministries, and the foreign ministry was leading the efforts.

“Security of the state is the government’s first priority, and that’s why the government made this decision,” Jabbar had said without elaborating.