Bangladesh to fine mobile-phone operators from May for unregistered SIM cards

The government has decided to slap a $50 fine on mobile operators for every unregistered mobile SIM card from May next year in a tightening of measures to curb their use by criminals.

Published : 20 Oct 2015, 01:28 PM
Updated : 20 Oct 2015, 01:44 PM

Biometric SIM registration will start from December to ensure user transparency.

“We’re giving mobile-phone operators three months from January to correct the [SIM] registration. If they fail to complete the task within April, they will be fined,” State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim told reporters on Monday.

Bangladesh telecom regulators BTRC had banned the sale of pre-active SIM cards in 2012, imposing a $50 fine for each such card.

The decision, however, is yet to be enforced.

There are allegations that criminals use unregistered SIMs for extortion and carrying out other offences.

Tarana said the government had given the operators the opportunity they had sought to authenticate subscribers’ identities.

The operators had been given access to the national identity card server for SIM card registration by the biometric process.

“They won’t have anything left to say after this,” the state minister added.

A verification of about 10 million SIM cards showed only 2.34 million of them were properly registered.

More than 14,000 SIM cards were registered against a single NID, and about 29,000 were tagged to just three NIDs.

At present, six mobile-phone operators boast of having over 130 million subscribers in Bangladesh.

Last month, the state minister had said re-registration was necessary “to combat militancy and end illegal VoIPs”.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher