The telecom regulator has decided to allow two additional number series, 013 for Grameenphone and 014 for Banglalink, as the two operators' existing prefixes—017 and 019 respectively—are close to running out of combinations.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission came up with the decision at a meeting last week.
Grameenphone, the market leader among mobile operators, had been repeatedly appealing to the commission for the last few years citing number scarcity while the third largest operator also filed its application two years back seeking 010.
Grameenphone's active connections crossed the seven crore mark as of July though it sold over nine crore SIMs. A number series can hardly provide 10 crore connections.
Banglalink's active connection figure reached 3.34 crore as of July while they sold over eight crore SIMs.
The issue was placed before Prime Minister's ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy in a meeting recently and he asked the regulator to positively deal with it. The second largest operator, coming from the merger of Robi and Airtel in November 2016, is already enjoying a competitive advantage from a marketing perspective with its two 018 and 016 number series.
The two series account for 4.53 crore active numbers as of July, according to the BTRC.
The National Numbering Plan has 10 prefixes for mobile operators, of which 010, 012, 013 and 014 were available before the recent decision was taken.
Teletalk is using 015 and Citlycell, which has gone out of operations, has 011.