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BTRC: Calls without SIMs during natural disasters

  • Published at 11:19 pm October 30th, 2019
BTRC logo
Logo of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission

A test run for the service was carried out recently

The government is going to introduce “SIM-Less Calling” in case of any kind of natural disaster.

The telecom regulator and Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange (DREE) has successfully tested the “SIM-Less Voice Call Service to 999” to be used during any kind of natural disasters such as earthquakes or storms.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Senior Assistant Director Zakir Hossain Khan on Wednesday said the test for the service was done in the capital’s Bashundhara Residential Area.

“Every handset has the option of an emergency call but we do not have the service available in the country at the moment.

“During emergency situations such as natural calamities, people will be able to call if there is no SIM or network on the handset,” a BTRC official who participated in the test run told Dhaka Tribune.

“For the service to work there must be network availability of at least one operator. For example, if someone uses a Grameenphone SIM,  and in a disaster situation there is no network of the operator in his area, but the Robi network is available, then the new system will channel the GP call through the Robi network,” he explained.

He said the service would only be activated during natural disaster situations.

“Mobile phone operators will activate the system in disaster affected areas after a notification is dispatched from BTRC,” he added.  

The government in 2017 launched 999 as a toll-free number for emergency services including police, fire brigade, and ambulance.

DREE is a training exercise jointly organized by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, the Bangladesh Army, and the US Army, to tackle various disaster management services.

All mobile phone operators participated in the DREE 2019 test run of the service.

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