Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission is thinking to allow mobile phone operator Robi Axiata Limited one or more blocks of 016 number series instead of issuing the entire series.
If allowed, Robi would be able to continue issuing connections starting with prefix 016. The prefix was earlier used by Airtel before its merger with Robi in 2016.
Each block of number series under the existing national numbering plan allows an operator to issue 1 crore connections and ten blocks allow an operator to issue 10 crore connections.
Under the merger conditions, the telecom regulator allowed Robi to issue connection starting with 016 prefix for two years that ended in October, 2018.
Following the expiry of BTRC-approved timeframe, Robi requested the commission to maintain the commission’s approval that allowed the mobile phone operator to use 016 number series along with its existing 018 prefix.
At present, Robi’s around 3.4 crore customers are using connections under 018 prefix along with another 1.3 crore customers who are connected with 016 prefix. The subscriber base of the mobile operator is around 4.7 crore.
The commission at a recent meeting decided for further scrutiny of Robi’s plea for allowing 016 number series.
For now, Robi might be allowed to use one or more blocks instead of the entire 016 series.
Robi officials said that the facility of using 016 number series along with 018 provided extended facility of choosing number to its customers.
Besides, the operator was also apprehending that it might lose customers if the number series were not allowed.
Allowing the operator to use 016 prefix would ensure level playing field in the market as Grameenphone and Banglalink were issued two new number prefixes.
In August last year, the telecom regulator allowed leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone to use two blocks of 013 prefix while Banglalink was allowed to use one block of 014 prefix.
At the latest meeting of the commission, Robi was asked to implement section 10 of merger condition that bars the operator from using 016 prefix without taking regulatory approval after two years of merger.
BTRC officials said that the mobile phone operator used numbers from all the blocks of 016 prefix in the last couple of years.
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