Bangladesh lifts SIM card sales ban off Grameenphone

Bangladesh lifts SIM card sales ban off Grameenphone

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) lifted its ban on operator Grameenphone, which was forbidden from selling new SIM cards since June for poor quality of service.

Grameenphone CEO Yasir Azman confirmed the lifting of the ban by the regulator after decreeing the operator had improved its service, local media outlet The Financial Express reported.

Azman initially called the ban “inappropriate” in regards to improving the quality of service issues for operators. Grameenphone was the only operator to be issued with such a ban. 

The Financial Express reported, Grameenphone lost millions of subscribers since the sales ban. As of November 2022, Grameenphone had a customer base of 80.34 million, down from 84.08 million in June.

The BTRC apparently allowed the operator to sell 1.3 million old unused SIM cards in November after petitioning various branches of government, but this was backtracked on in October.

Media outlets have reported the ban stems from a political spat between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed, and Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus, which has a stake in the operator through subsidiary Grameen Telecom (Telenor has the majority stake).

BTRC officials have noted publicly poor mobile signal around Bangladesh’s new US$3.6 billion bridge.

"We look forward to receiving continued support and cooperation from the authorities as connectivity plays a pivotal role in the digitalisation and economic growth of the country," said Azman.

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