The telecom regulator seized over 10,947 SIM cards during six raids in the capital in September, which were used in illegally routing international calls through voice over internet protocol (VoIP).
Of the SIMs, 5,075 were of Teletalk; 3,897 Airtel and Robi; 1,414 Grameenphone; 426 Banglalink and 120 private landphone operator Rankstel, the officials of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) said in a press conference at its office yesterday.
The regulator also seized a huge amount of equipment used in VoIP worth Tk 37 lakh in the raids conducted at Mohammadpur, Adabor, Badda and in a residential area under Uttara Paschim thana from September 16 to 20.
The BTRC officials were assisted by the members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab).
The team also arrested eight people, said Md Jahurul Haque, acting chairman of the telecom watchdog, adding that cases have been filed with police stations concerned under the BTRC act.
“The commission will take action against the mobile phone operators,” he said.
Bangladesh approximately receives 4 crore minutes of incoming calls from abroad every day on an average through legal channels, informed Haque.
Meanwhile another 2.5 crore minutes of calls come through illegal channels, causing a revenue loss of a few crore taka, he said, adding that such illegal use of a single SIM for an hour causes a loss of Tk 106.98.
The BTRC has been using modern technology capable of pinpointing the exact location of illegal VoIP business, preventing which will annually save Tk 50 crore, he said.
Haque said 1,216,466 SIM cards have been seized centring the crime in the last five years.