State-owned mobile operator Teletalk will give 20 lakh SIM cards to women for free with the aim of empowering them through easy access to internet and low-cost phone calls amid a continued fall in the number of its subscribers.
On Sunday, state minister for posts and telecommunications Tarana Halim launched a scheme of Teletalk named ‘Aparajita SIM’ at her ministry office in Dhaka in this regard.
The initiative came when the mobile phone operator has been losing subscribers amid constant customers’ dissatisfaction.
In just seven months of the year 2017, the number of active subscribers of Teletalk declined by 5.57 lakh.
The total active subscribers of the operator were 37.91 lakh at the end of January this year that came down to 32.34 lakh in August, 2017 amid an increase in the overall mobile phone subscribers in the period in the country.
The number of mobile phone subscribers increased by 1.11 crore to 13.93 crore at the end of August from 12.82 crore at the end of January this year, reflecting Teletalk’s failure in retaining its users.
Under the ‘Aparajita SIM’ scheme that began on Sunday, a woman would be able to collect two Aparajita SIMs from any Teletalk customer care centre or retailer completing the biometric verification process, said Tarana.
Referring to the target of sustainable development goals (SDGs), she said, in view of the SDG motto ‘None will be left behind’, Teletalk has taken the move to ‘ensure their (women) easy access to internet and cheaper voice call rates towards their empowerment’.
The state minister hoped the Aparajita scheme would contribute to social and economic development of women in the long run.
An Aparajita user, as start-up bonus, will get Tk 10 preloaded balance which will remain valid for the next three months and 1 GB data and 10-minute on-net and 5-minitue off-net call free for seven days from the activation of the SIM.
Besides, the user could enjoy 1 GB data at Tk 8 while 2 GB data at Tk 14 for a week and it will continue for the next three months from the activation of the SIM and the user can avail the facility as many times as she wants.
The exiting woman users, too, can migrate to the Aparajita scheme.
Mentioning that Teletalk had earlier provided 10 lakh SIMs to women through another project, Tarana said, ‘Teletalk does not do business rather it provides services and maintains the equilibrium of the market.’
Teletalk managing director Golam Kuddus and other officials were present in the scheme launching ceremony.
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