BTRC verifying if 3G, 4G still available in refugee camps

A technical team of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has started an inspection to see if the recent restriction on 3G and 4G mobile data services was working in the Rohingya camp areas in Cox’s Bazar.

The inspection, which is being assisted by technical experts from the mobile phone operators, began on Friday and will continue till tomorrow.

The BTRC team said jammers will be installed in the 32 Rohingya camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas, and the local agents of the telecom operators will be asked to stop selling SIM cards to the refugees. They will also request local police to evict unauthorised agents from this area, said a team member requesting anonymity.

On September 9, BTRC directed all mobile operators to limit 3G and 4G services in Rohingya camp areas, but the restriction disrupted telecom services in the areas surrounding the camps.

On the other hand, a representative of Bangladesh Mobile Phone Users’ Association told The Daily Star that the 3G and 4G services are still available in some camps.

Meanwhile, locals said that after the restriction was imposed, local Wi-Fi network business got a sudden boost in the areas around the Rohingya camps.

Talking to The Daily Star, Additional Superintendent of Police in Ukhiya Nehad Adnan Tainan said that after doing the inspection, the BTRC team will make recommendations to the higher authority to make a final decision. The team will also meet the deputy commissioner (DC) and top police officers of Cox’s Bazar in this regard.

“It is very tough to restrict mobile network in a specific area. That’s why we may request the government to formulate a separate regulation for Rohingyas,” said a BTRC team member, wishing anonymity.

In addition to the camps, BTRC will also inspect the base stations or mobile towers along the border to see how far the network is available inside Myanmar.


Earlier, BTRC directed the telecom companies to make sure that Myanmar does not receive any signal from operators in Bangladesh.