Bangladesh launches registration of mobile phone SIMs with biometric details

Registration with biometric details for mobile-phone SIMs has officially taken off in Bangladesh after a month of trials.

Published : 16 Dec 2015, 10:49 AM
Updated : 16 Dec 2015, 10:49 AM

State Minister for Telecommunications Tarana Halim inaugurated the process at the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission’s (BTRC) office on Wednesday.

On Nov 1, Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Advisor Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed Joy launched the trials by registering a SIM for himself.

Halim said on Wednesday they had identified the problems and solved those during the trials.

“We have embarked on the journey of digital identification by launching biometric SIM registrations,” she announced.

Subscribers now have to provide  fingerprints while buying SIM card while owners of previously issued SIMs will have to register in the new process by April next year, she added.

BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood assured representatives of the operators at the ceremony, including Grameenphone CEO Rajeev Sethi, Robi CEO Supun Weerasinghe, Banglalink CEO Erik Aas, to resolve any problems they face by 24 to 48 hours.

The initiatives to verify subscribers’ information and SIM re-registration were taken recently after allegations that many of the SIMs were either registered under fake names or unregistered.

Criminals and terrorists have been reportedly using many of these SIMs.

After the process to crosscheck subscribers’ information with the National Identity Registration Wing’s server started, it was found that around 75 percent of the 10 million SIM cards verified until now were ‘not registered properly’.

Only 2.34 million SIMs were registered properly, according to government statistics.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher