Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has approved two new number prefixes — 013 and 014 — respectively for mobile phone operators Grameenphone and Banglalink.
The approval was given at a meeting held at the commission office in the capital on last Sunday following endorsement from prime minister’s ICT affairs adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy, a senior official told New Age last week.
Under the BTRC approval, the operators have been allowed to give connections under new prefixes as well as the existing number prefixes.
The operators, however, would start issuing connections under the prefixes after getting approval letters from the commission, said BTRC officials.
The number series of the country’s mobile phone operators starts with ‘01’ prefix as per National Number Plan.
Each number series allows an operator to sell 10 crore connections with an 11-digit number.
At present, customers of the leading mobile phone operator GP has been using 017, Banglalink customers 019 and Teletalk customers were using 015 as per approval from the telecom regulator.
Customers of Robi and Airtel, now merged as Robi, have been using 018 and 016 respectively.
BTRC officials said that GP was allowed to issue new numbers to its customers starting with prefix 013 as its numbers as its existing prefix 017 was almost exhausted.
The commission initially in August, 2016 decided to assign ‘013’ number series after the GP had applied for the series.
The decision, however, was scrapped in January, 2017 but the BTRC allowed the telecom operators including GP to resell their connections which remained unused for more than 15 months.
Mobile phone operators are now allowed to resell a SIM card cancelling previous ownership if the number remains unused or inactive for more than 480 days by giving one month notice to its owner.
On the other hand, the third largest mobile phone operator Banglalink has 3.33 crore active subscribers and the operator would be able to issue more than 6 crore connection with the existing number prefix 019 as each number series allow an operator provide 10 crore connection.
Yet, the commission issued new number series 014 to the operator following its plea as was the case with new number series for GP, an official of BTRC said.
The operators would start issuing numbers to their subscribers under the prefixes 013 and 014 after getting letter from the commission.
The country’s total number of active mobile phone subscribers stands at 15.09 crore at the end of June this year including 4.47 crore customers of Robi, under prefix 018 and 016, and 37.64 customers of Teletalk under the prefix 015, BTRC data shows.