The total number of Bangladesh’s mobile phone users reached over 158 million at the end of February with the addition of 1.449 million new subscribers in the first two months of the year, statistics of the country’s telecom regulator showed on Monday.
According to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) data, the number of subscribers in the country reached 158.438 million in February.
Bangladesh has now four mobile companies, three of whom including Grameenphone, Robi and Banglalink are foreign-backed cellphone operators.
The number of subscribers of the mobile operators, Grameenphone, Robi Axiata, Banglalink and Teletalk stood at 73.470 million, 47.025 million, 34.022 million and 3.921 million, respectively at the end of February, BTRC data showed.
Bangladesh has sought help from the US in pressurising Myanmar to offer safeguards for the return of thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled the country since August 2017.
Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen sought the US assistance during a meeting on Monday with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, the government of Bangladesh said in a statement on Tuesday.
During the meeting, Momen discussed the importance of “repatriation of Rohingyas and creation of credible international pressure on Myanmar in that respect”, the statement said.
According to the statement, Pompeo reiterated that the US “would stand beside Bangladesh (both politically and financially) in finding a permanent solution to the Rohingya crisis”, Efe news reported.
“It is the responsibility of the Myanmar government and military to create a conducive environment for Rohingyas to feel safe to return home,” he said.
Momen told Pompeo about Dhaka’s plans to transfer a group of Rohingya to the uninhabited Bhashanchar island in the Bay of Bengal. The island has been prepared to host 100,000 refugees from the overcrowded camps in the Cox’s Bazar district.
Over 738,000 Rohingyas have arrived in the camps since the beginning of the crisis on August 25, 2017, following a wave of violence and persecution, which has been described by the United Nations an attempted ethnic cleansing.
Most refugees of the majority-Muslim community live in harsh conditions in the Kutupalong camp — located near the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar. It has become the biggest refugee camp in the world.
Although Bangladesh and Myanmar signed an agreement on November 23, 2017, the repatriation attempts have failed due to absence of conditions necessary for safe and voluntary return of the refugees. (IANS)