For the first time, Bangladesh’s total mobile phone subscribers fell in September, by 310,000 to 45.09 million, according to data from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). GrameenPhone’s customer base dropped by 20,000 in a month to 20.82 million, while Banglalink’s total subscriptions fell by 30,000 to 10.14 million, and AKTEL saw its active SIMs diminish by more than half a million to 7.63 million. The overall fall in the number of mobile users is attributed to the effects of a recent government policy which forced operators to disconnect unregistered SIM cards for security reasons. In the third quarter, Telenor subsidiary GrameenPhone’s subscribers rose by a net 510,000, and Banglalink, run by Egypt’s Orascom, saw a net increase in June-September of 713,000, although AKTEL, which is majority owned by Malaysia’s TM International, lost a net 220,000 subscribers in the quarter. The fourth, fifth and sixth largest operators in the country, Warid, CityCell and Teletalk all registered net subscriber growth in September, although state-run Teletalk shed a net 170,000 users in the third quarter overall. Fixed lines in service in Bangladesh rose by 17,000 in September to 1.327 million.
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