Buying SIMs without NID Card: BTRC decides to cap it to two
A mobile phone user will not be able to get more than two SIM cards against his or her passport or driving licence or birth certificate, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has decided.
Also, those SIM cards have to be registered within six months with the mobile operators against their National Identity (NID) cards. Failing to do so will lead to blocking of the cards if there is no valid reason for the delay in providing copies of the cards to the carrier.
The decision was made at a meeting of the telecom regulator recently to check crimes using SIM cards, said meeting sources.
Currently, a mobile phone user can buy 15 SIM cards against his or her NID card.
The BTRC allows those without NID or smart NID cards to get SIM cards against any of their passport or driving licence or birth registration certificate.
However, a mobile phone user can buy up to 15 SIM cards against each of the five identification documents. It this way, the person could purchase maximum 75 SIM cards, said BTRC sources.
The BRTC has already asked operators to prepare, said sources, adding that a directive would be issued.
The operator would send a text message to the user 30 days before the date of registration would be due.
The request for re-registration using the NID or smart card will also be sent via SMS. The phone numbers will be disabled if not registered.
Asked, BTRC Chairman Shyam Sunder Sikder said the move is aimed at stopping criminal activities which are done by misusing SIM cards.
"It is being brought under one rule. This rule is applicable to all, whether they are Bangladeshi citizens or foreigners," he said.
According to the commission sources, the meeting decided that the regulator will cancel registration of the additional SIMs within 90 days of issuing a directive in this regard.
The mobile phone operator will take necessary steps to inform customer concerned about this, the sources said.
According to a report of the commission, the number of people who have taken 15 SIMs against one birth registration certificate is 154.
The number of people who have taken 15 SIMs against their driving licence is 26 and the number of people who have taken 15 SIMs against one passport is 84.
The number of people who have taken 3 SIMs against one birth certificate is 4,540, against one driving licence 394, and against one passport 4,373.
As of now, BTRC's Central Biometric Verification Monitoring Platform system does not have data on the same person's passport and birth certificate. The platform has all the data on those documents provided to purchase SIM cards so far in the country.
As there is no was to establish a link between national identity card, smart NID card, passport, driving licence and birth registration certificate, a customer has the opportunity to register a total of 75 SIMs, 15 against each of the five IDs, which is against the government guidelines.
The commission further said that in all cases, SIM registration, verification, re-activation, re-registration, replacement, de-activation etc. must be done only from the respective sales center of the operator concerned. It cannot be done through any retailer.
"We are in the consultation with the regulator, and will comply with any forthcoming instructions in this regard," Hossain Sadat, acting chief corporate affairs officer of Grameenphone Ltd, said.