Home South Asia Pakistan PTA set to block all unregistered mobile phones by October 20th

PTA set to block all unregistered mobile phones by October 20th

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News Desk |

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has announced that it will start blocking all unregistered mobile phone devices after October 20th, according to a press release. ‘The already very vibrant telecom sector of Pakistan has experienced tremendous smartphone growth with the introduction of 3G and 4G networks’ the press release read.

‘There is a strong influx of mobile devices being imported into the country; however, there remains a significant issue with the grey market and counterfeit devices impacting Government, Mobile Network Operators, OEMs/Distributors, and Consumers. At a government level, there is a loss in revenue due to import tax evasion as well as public security is potentially endangered from non-registered devices.

At present, many handsets with duplicate IMEIs are available in the market, especially the low-cost, copy-cat versions of branded mobile phones.

From an OEM/Distributor industry perspective, counterfeit and grey market devices pave the way for unfair competition, resulting in lost sales, pricing pressure, and impact to brand equity. With counterfeit devices, end users face degraded performance issues and potential health hazards’.

The PTA had sent out an automated message to customers of all service providers to send their IMEI number to 8484 to authenticate their IMEI numbers. International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is a unique identification code for each mobile device allocated by the Global System of Mobile Association (GSMA).

Read more: Pakistan crosses 150 million mobile subscribers milestone

The IMEI is a 15 digit number that is used to identify the device. The IMEI also reveals the manufacturer, make & model, type approval details and country of production. The Equipment Identity Register (EIR) is a database located within the Network Operation Control (NOC) of mobile network operators, that contains a record of all the mobile devices that are allowed in a network as well as the database of all equipment that is blocked, e.g. because it is reported lost or stolen.

The identity of the mobile station is given by the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI). Each time a call is made, the MSC requests the IMEI of the mobile station, which is then sent to the EIR for authorization. The use of genuine IMEI along with other processes/systems such as type approval, EIR and the one proposed in this document ensures a healthy mobile ecosystem.

This IMEI number can be obtained dialing *#06# from a smartphone or checking the battery compartment of non-smartphones.

According to the PTA, illegal mobile handsets that don’t come with a valid IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number will be blocked after the expiry of the deadline.

The telecom regulator has implemented DIRBS (Device Identification Registration & Blocking System), which is a system designed to reduce the use of non-compliant devices. This system aimed at blocking illegal handsets includes those with no or duplicated IMEI numbers, smuggled, and snatched the mobile phone and other SIM-run devices.

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According to the telecoms watchdog, millions of handsets have been smuggled or not registered with the PTA. Reportedly handsets with duplicated IMEI numbers were smuggled or imported through grey channels. These handheld sets and other devices like tablets will be blocked by PTA after October 20.

At present, many handsets with duplicate IMEIs are available in the market, especially the low-cost, copy-cat versions of branded mobile phones. Those who bought these categories of phones might incur losses.

It is worthwhile to mention here that the telecom watchdog constituted a Type Approval system to reduce the availability of handsets with invalid or no IMEI numbers at the imports stage.

Read more: Pakistan getting ready to ride the ‘Digital wave’

How to check if your phone is registered or not?

To find out the registration status of the phone, send IMEI number to 8484 in a text message. This IMEI number can be obtained dialing *#06# from a smartphone or checking the battery compartment of non-smartphones. The automated reply will confirm whether the phone is registered with PTA or not.


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