Vol. 5 Num 286 Thu. March 17, 2005  

Int'l dialling access code to be changed

Bangladesh is going to change its international dialling access code and some emergency service numbers in the wake of growing number of telephone subscribers and the arrival of new telecom companies.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has asked the state-owned Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone board (BTTB), which handles the country's international gateway, to change the international access code and rearrange emergency service numbers.

The international access code, which is now 00 and is used while dialling a number abroad, is likely to be replaced with 001. And the economy international call number 012 will be replaced with 002, according to a proposal by the BTTB.

"More economy services may be launched after this rearrangement," said a source at the BTRC.

The police control room number 999 will be replaced by 100 while 101 will be designated for fire service and ambulance service, instead of 199.

"More short access code would be designated after reassignment of the series," said another source.

Besides, telephone numbers of all division headquarters will be upgraded to seven-digit numbers from the current five-digit ones in some places by adding 2 or 21.

However, the country code, 880, would remain unchanged.

"The BTRC has been asked to bring changes to the numbers because of the increase number of telephone subscribers," said a BTRC official.

Citing the example of private cellphone operators, he said that those companies have added an additional number considering the growth of their subscribers' base.

Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, has over one million fixed line phones and about four million mobile phones provided by four companies under joint ventures with foreign companies.

The BTTB is expected to launch its cellphone service this month.

The telecom watchdog, BTRC, has already awarded licences to some 23 private fixed phone operators and at least half a dozen of them will launch their fixed phone service soon.