Telcos to access EC database

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Mobile operators will be allowed to access the Election Commission’s database before activating new connections.
Telecoms Minister Abdul Latif Siddique said that the issue will be finalised after discussing with the Election Commission (EC).
Representatives of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators Bangladesh (AMTOB) met the minister on Sunday.
“Initiatives are being taken so that the operators can confirm a subscriber’s identity by checking with the database on voters before they activate a new connection,” Siddiqui said after the meeting.
Telecom operators have been assured that steps will be taken so that they can use the EC’s database on voters-but they will have to pay fees for that, said the minister.
The telecoms regulator have stopped selling ‘Pre-activated SIMs’ since Oct 2012.
Operators are supposed to activate a SIM only after confriming the subscriber’s identity, according to the order by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
National ID or any other photo-identity provided by the government is now essential to obtain a mobile telephone connection.
However, incidents of using fake IDs have been reported frequently.
Law enforcing agencies say these type of connections are being often used for criminal activities.
The Bangladesh Bank and the National Board of Revenue currently uses the database after having signed an MOA with the EC.
According to EC statistics, there are now over 91.9 million voters in the country, while the BTRC’s latest statistics indicate 113.70 million mobile phone subscibers until Dec’13.