Worried that the mobile phone you bought abroad or from a black market will no longer be functional? Worry no more.
The government is going to backtrack on its earlier decision to deactivate all illegal mobile phones, saying the move had caused suffering for the people.
Posts and Telecommunications Minister Md Mustafa Jabbar told The Business Standard, "The device registration process that we had undertaken earlier had caused people suffering. We cannot take the decision in these circumstances. Therefore, we have decided to activate any mobile device which is using a local SIM."
The government had earlier announced that all illegal mobile devices would be deactivated from October. It also invested Tk29.7crore to set up the National Equipment Identity Register (NEIR) system, which was supposed to restrict the use of SIM cards in illegal phones.
But the U-turn may bring some relief to many.
"The National Board of Revenue and law enforcement departments will look after the legality of the devices," the telecoms minister said.
From now on, if a customer buys a phone and it comes through the legal channel, it will be registered automatically through the NEIR once the customer turns it on.
Earlier on July 1, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) launched the National Equipment Identity Register (NEIR) on a three-month trial.
At the time, the NEIR was supposed to stop the use of illegal handsets from 1 October.
It was also said that NEIR will aid in the expansion of the domestic mobile phone industry and in turn, the government's revenue generation from the sector will increase.
According to the Bangladesh Mobile Phone Business Association (BMBA), there are around three crore illegal phone sets in the country, and the number is increasing gradually.
From a legal importer, the government gets Tk3,000 against each device in the form of import duties. But the government loses revenue when a mobile handset is sold or purchased illegally.