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BTRC sets clauses to limit short code use

ISMAIL HOSSAIN | November 12, 2022 00:00:00

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has set a number of conditions to limit the use of public service short code numbers.

The telecom regulator has recently taken the decision to restrict the allocation of short code, as so many organisations are applying for the code - only for improving their brand image.

The BTRC has also taken the decision, as short code numbers are limited and very important national resource.

The decision was taken in the latest commission meeting.

The BTRC already allocated 522 short code numbers to various business firms, of which 50 per cent are hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres. In 2021-22, it allocated 50 short codes against different firms.

Currently, the regulator has 1,243 short codes ready for allocation. But it also has a reserve of 6,509 short codes for future use.

Among the conditions, the organisations that want a short code must have a nationwide call, they have to submit proof of receiving minimum 300 calls daily, and in case of hospitals, the applicants need to have a minimum 200-bed accommodation and nationwide service.

The BTRC has also taken decisions to be strict in allocating short codes to many subsidiaries under one company as well as conduct physical inspection before a short code allocation.

Short code is a three- or five-digit number that the government entities or business houses use to deliver their services automatically and in a hassle-free way round-the-clock.

Short code became popular following a decision in 2019 to lower the call charge for public service short code by 77.5 per cent to Tk 0.45 a minute from Tk 2.00 a minute. The BTRC formulated guidelines for short code in 2020.

Currently, 72 government agencies have short code services and some of these are toll-free. The Bangladesh Police, Anti-Corruption Commission, Department of Disaster Management, Election Commission, Child Helpline Service, National Legal Aid Services Organisation, and Ministry of Women and Children Affairs use toll-free codes.

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