In a bid to rein in mobile phones imported illegally, the Bangladeshi government has initiated a move to set up a national equipment identity register (NEIR).
As part of the move, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has already floated tender to procure equipment for the NEIR which is to be a central database for International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), a unique 15-digit identification inbuilt in a handset, an official said Wednesday.
The BTRC officials said the telecom regulator, which will be functional by the end of this year, will block illegally imported handsets once the database was up and running, Xinhua news agency reported.
Nearly 7 million of over 30 million phones sold in the Bangladesh market last year were imported illegally, according to the report.
The total number of Bangladesh's mobile phone subscribers hit over 165 million, with an addition of over 8 million new users last year.
Bangladesh currently has four mobile companies, three of which are foreign-backed cellphone operators.
The number of subscribers of mobile operators, Grameenphone, Robi Axiata, Banglalink and Teletalk stood at 76.46 million, 49.00 million, 35.24 million and 4.87 million respectively at the end of last year, the BTRC data showed.
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