Bangla cellcos selling SIMs to refugees ‘face prosecution’ says minister

25 Sep 2017

Bangladeshi mobile operators will face legal action if they are found to be involved in selling SIM cards to Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, declared State Minister for Post & Telecommunications Tarana Halim on Saturday. As reported by the Daily Star, the minister told a press conference at the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) headquarters in Dhaka that the government was setting up telephone service points run by state-owned Teletalk at Rohingya refugee camps ‘within three days’, whilst adding that the government is working on a solution for the refugees ‘so that they can use mobile SIM cards legally at least for six months’.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Bangladesh has operated a biometric SIM verification programme since December 2015, requiring SIM card owners/buyers to verify their identity with their fingerprint, which is checked against the fingerprint data associated with their national identity card. Under this system, the government asserted that from 1 October 2016 there are no unregistered mobile numbers active in the market.

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