Those below 18 years of age will not be able to purchase cellphone cards under the new rules being enforced by the Bangladesh government.

“Over 200,000 mobile phone connections have so far been cancelled following allegations of various criminal offences, including extortion, issuance of threats, and other forms of harassment,” Home Minister Sahara Khatun told reporters Wednesday.

Over 1.2 million unregistered SIM (subscriber identity module) and RUIM (removable user identity module) cards have so far been blocked.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her nephew and lawmaker Fazle Noor Taposh are among those who recently received threatening SMS messages, The Daily Star reported.

Those who are over 18 must put their national identity numbers on registration forms to become subscribers.

Restrictions were also slapped on getting authority certificates for selling the cards. Applicants for the certificates from service providers must have secondary school certificates and go through police verification.

Bangladesh's total telephone users stood at around 56 million at the end of January 2010.