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Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has directed mobile phone operators to halt sale of SIM cards to Rohingyas and ensure that mobile phone use by them is stopped.

The directive was issued after Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar asked Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to take immediate steps to stop mobile phone services at Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.

The ban on sale of mobile SIM cards to Rohingya refugees was first imposed in September 2017.

The phone operators have also been asked to inform the BTRC within next seven working days the measures taken in this regard.

The BTRC also reiterated the directive issued in October last year asking all mobile operators to restrict their networks in the Bangladesh-Myanmar border areas as well as block networks in and around Rohingya camps.

Following the directive, the mobile operators are reported to have weakened their networks in the border areas including Cox Bazar and Bandarban.

The notice was issued following allegations that the telecom operators were providing SIM cards to Rohingyas defying government ban.

Bangladesh government had imposed a ban on sale of mobile SIM cards to Rohingyas in September 2017 citing security reasons.

Government had proposed to set up phone booths in the Rohingya camps to meet their communication requirements. However the sale of SIM cards to Rohingya refugees continued illegally.

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