Telecom giant Grameenphone has been allowed to sell 78,000 sim cards to selective public and private corporate clients such as the Bangladesh Armed Forces, Bangladesh Police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
After a ban on GP SIM sale late June due to "poor services", the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) loosened its grip on Sunday on a number of conditions.
Those include the selective corporate sales will be limited to allocated series for the entities and Grameenphone will not charge any money for the new connections. Besides, the sales data will have to be submitted to the regulator every month.
In the first week of September, the regulator allowed GP to sell 13 lakh old and unused SIM cards considering "the high demand for Grameenphone connections". However, it walked back on the decision early-November.
"...the quality of GP's services has not improved yet," BTRC Chairman Shyam Sunder Sikder told journalists at that time.
The latest green signal to GP SIMs does not mean the operator's quality of services has improved, Mustafa Jabbar, minister of the Post, Telecommunication & Information Technology ministry, told The Business Standard on Sunday.
"Generally, the Armed Forces and other corporate entities issue the same number of a specific series to their new recruits. We approved the selective and conditional sales considering that," he said.
"But we cannot allow Grameenphone to sell SIMs to people as its quality of services has not been improved yet," added Mustafa Jabbar.
Hossain Sadat, senior director (Corporate Affairs) of Grameenphone, said they are surprised by the decision of the regulator as the ban continues depriving the general people of the right of connectivity and freedom of choice.
"Even after delivering on our promises to improve the network, we are surprised by the decision," he told The Business Standard.
He termed the ban counter-productive for digital Bangladesh and foreign direct investments.
"We will continue the ongoing talks with the regulatory bodies for an amicable solution," he added.