Pre-paid SIM sales slump under new regulations

22 Mar 2006

Following last month’s introduction of a new law making it mandatory for all Bangladeshi pre-paid mobile users to register their identities, the country has witnessed a sharp decline in sales of pay-as-you-go SIM cards, retailers report. As part of efforts to clamp down on the use of unregistered mobile phones by terrorists, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) ruled on 27 February that new pre-pay customers must submit personal details such as photographs, fingerprints, ID cards, passports or driving licences. Those without appropriate ID must obtain a certificate issued by an elected public representative or government officer. Many SIM card dealers say they have incurred losses in the last month. A GrameenPhone outlet told Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star that it ‘used to sell 30 to 35 SIM cards a day but now sales have dropped to two or three a day,’ whilst a Banglalink retailer said: ‘We are facing a severe loss in business. At present we sell eight to ten SIMs a day whereas I sold 30 to 40 before the new regulations.’

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