Mobile-phone operators start trialling biometric SIM registration, re-registration

Mobile-phone operators in Bangladesh have started the trial run of biometric registration and re-registration of SIM cards.

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 15 Nov 2015, 05:20 PM
Updated : 15 Nov 2015, 05:22 PM

Subscribers who have SIM cards bought before 2012 will have to undergo the process.
 
Failure will lead the carriers to gradually deactivate the SIM cards for either several hours or even days, if needed, as warning after April next year, State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim has said.
 
"We spoke earlier of kicking off the trial run by the operators from Nov 15 and we’ve done it. We're inspecting the measures," she told reporters on Sunday after visiting Robi's Customer Care Centre at Gulshan's Uday Tower in Dhaka.
 
The six operators - Grameenphone, Robi, Banglalink, Airtel, Citycell and state-owned Teletalk - had signed a deal with the Election Commission to match National Identity Cards data with information provided by their clients at the time of SIM registration.
 
Tarana said the operators were using the National Identity Registration Wing (NIDW) archive where information pertaining to citizens’ is stored.
 
"We're determined to meet our deadline," she said, adding that the operators would officially begin the biometric registration process from Dec 16 across the country.
 
"Those whose SIM registrations are faulty will be given priority. New subscribers will have to register through this system as well." 

Asked how much time those who are yet to re-register would be given, the minister said the process would run as long as there is interest among the users.
 
She said the initial deadline for old subscribers to re-register in the new process would end in April next year.
 
The subscribers, who would remain unregistered or wrongly registered, would be warned again via SMS for re-registration.
 
Tarana and her entourage of top BTRC officials on Sunday also visited the Customer Care Centres of Grameenphone, Teletalk, Banglalink, Airtel and Citycell during the inspection at Gulshan.
 
The government took the initiatives to verify subscribers’ data and re-registration of SIMs following allegations that many SIMs were either registered under fake names or not registered at all.
 
Criminals were said to have been using many of these SIMs.
 
As a first step, operators sought information from the subscribers through text message for a month starting from Oct 15.
 
The biometric system aims tobring transparency to the SIM registration process.
 
According to telecom regulators BTRC, more than 130 million of Bangladesh’s 160 million people had mobile phone SIMs until September this year.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher