Unauthorised mobile phones will be blocked on July 1, says BTRC chairman
The telecom regulator will soon raise its vigilance over mobile operators with the view to enhancing the service quality, said its chief.
“In the wake of the rising number of complaints, including call drops and slow internet services, against these operators, we have decided to increase watch over their networks,” Shyam Sunder Sikder, chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Commission, told UNB.
The move is aimed at ensuring quality service for subscribers.
“It is our responsibility to ensure uninterrupted services to customers and we are working towards that. We will also work towards removing the weakness in technology.”
The commission also plans on updating the existing guidelines for telecom operators.
What is holding the commission back is its manpower crisis as well as some technical difficulties, he said.
“Besides, adequate spectrum is needed to ensure quality services to customers. We would encourage the operators to purchase the necessary spectrum. If needed, we will hold a meeting with them.”
As per the government’s order, the government wants to introduce 5G by 2023, said Sikder, who took over at the helm of the telecom watchdog in December last year.
Preparations are being taken to allocate new spectrum for 5G mobile operators and a policy will be finalised soon.
He also touched upon the issue of illegally imported handsets: unauthorised mobile phone handsets will be blocked on July 1, when the BTRC rolls out the National Equipment Identification Registrar (NEIR).
“No illegal handsets will be allowed to be used in the country’s telecom network after that. All makes of mobile phones will have to go through the mandatory registration process in Bangladesh.”
In December last year, the BTRC signed an agreement with local company Synesis IT to set up the NEIR with the view to identifying and disconnecting handsets that were brought in to the country illegally.
From January 16 this year, mobile operators will manually inform the subscribers about the sets that have International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI). Also, everyone will have to register their handsets.
Mobile phones with fake/clone IMEI will be detected through the NEIR and disconnected from the network, the BTRC chief said.
The number of mobile subscribers in Bangladesh reached a record 17 crore at the end of January, according to data from the BTRC.
Of the total subscribers, Grameenphone 7.8 crore, Robi 5.1 crore, Banglalink 3.6 crore and Teletalk 0.54 lakh.
Besides, the number of total internet users reached 11.3 crore.