The telecom regulator is set to slap all four mobile operators with fines after their SIMs were found being used in illegal call termination.
Call termination refers to the routing of calls from one carrier or provider to another. In Bangladesh diverting international calls from designated gateways is illegal.
Though the SIMs (subscriber identity modules) were registered through biometric verification, they were not being used by the individuals, found the telecom watchdog from different raids in the capital between July 14 and August 1 last year.
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission seized 4,707 SIMs.
At first, the telecom watchdog sought explanations from the operators but did not find them acceptable.
Subsequently in a recent meeting, it decided to impose a fine of Tk 10,000 for each connection, said BTRC Chairman Md Jahurul Haque.
Of the total fine of of Tk 4.71 crore, state-run Teletalk alone accounted for Tk 4.36 crore: 4,358 of its SIMs were used in call termination.
Demand letters will soon be sent to the operators, said another official of the BTRC.
In 2012 the telecom regulator first decided to impose a fine of $50 against each SIM that would be found unregistered or registered with incorrect information.
The amount of the fine was later fixed at Tk 5,000 and revised up to Tk 10,000 in 2019.
In response to the BTRC’s call, the mobile operators said they had registered the SIMs with proper information but had no mechanism to detect if the connections were being used in any illegal activity.
But telecom licences bind the operators to put in place a means to prevent subscribers from being engaged in illegal call termination, said BTRC officials.