The telecom regulator is likely to reduce the ownership claim of the unused mobile phone SIMs to six months from existing 15 months to clear the stuck up SIMs in the hand of mobile phone companies.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission officials said that the commission has decided to form a committee to finalise a proposal in this regard within one month.
As per the rule, if any SIM remained unused for consecutive three months then it becomes inactive. After 15 months the operators have to issue a warning to the SIM owner with a three months response time to activate the SIM.
If the owner fails to respond in time then the operator can re-sell the number at a regular price.
‘It looks like a strategic position of the operators to get new number series with capacity of additional 10 crore connection. If there is genuine need we will allow new numbers. Reducing the ownership period of unused SIMs is a better option though as we have only three number series left,’ a senior BTRC official told New Age.
He said the committee will look into this matter to find out the solution.
‘There is a chance that we will issue the warning after three months and the SIM will be saleable after six months,’ he said.
According to the National Numbering Plan, each number series allows a mobile operator to sell 10 crore connections with an 11-digit number.
Among the existing companies, Citycell was assigned 011, Teletalk 015, Airtel 016, Robi 018, Grameenphone 017 and Banglalink is using 019 as their number series.
In August, Grameenphone received BTRC
approval for a new number series, 013, with a condition that the operator will be allowed to use the new series after an ongoing BTRC audit on the operator ends.
The current subscriber of GP is 5.45 crore but the operator is unable to sell around 3 crore numbers as the 15 months ownership period has not expired, said BTRC officials.
Meanwhile, another operator Banglalink, with a subscriber-base of 2.89 crore, has also applied for a new number series.
The merger between Robi and Airtel will allow the merged entity, namely Robi, to enjoy a 20 crore connection facility combining the capacity of two operators.
In March 2015, the telecom regulator for the first time set maximum 2 years ownership for unused SIM.
Later in October that year, BTRC reduced the ownership period to 15 months following an application of GP.
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