PTA asked to extend Oct 20 deadline for registration of mobile phones

Published October 17, 2018
The Senate Standing Committee on information technology has said that the Pakistan Telecom­munication Authority’s (PTA) new phone registration system is an overwhelming undertaking, one that is difficult for people to understand and adhere to. — File Photo
The Senate Standing Committee on information technology has said that the Pakistan Telecom­munication Authority’s (PTA) new phone registration system is an overwhelming undertaking, one that is difficult for people to understand and adhere to. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on information technology has said that the Pakistan Telecom­munication Authority’s (PTA) new phone registration system is an overwhelming undertaking, one that is difficult for people to understand and adhere to.

“Considering the complications involved in the process, the committee asks the authorities to postpone the October 20 deadline,” said the chairperson of the committee, Senator Rubina Khalid of PPP.

With the impression that the system favoured telecom industry more than consumers, Muttahida Qaumi Move­ment’s Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh warned that he would ask the Supreme Court to take suo motu action on the issue if the registration deadline was not extended.

The subject of PTA’s new phone registration system was not on the committee’s agenda for discussion, but was taken up by its chairperson, who described it as complicated.

Senate committee says DIRBS is too difficult for people to understand

“This system is too confusing for the literate to wrap their heads around. We cannot imagine how the illiterate will understand it,” said Ms Khalid.

In May, the PTA launched a Device Identification, Registration and Bloc­king System (DIRBS) mechanism to counter the spread of substandard phones being smuggled into the country.

Last Friday, the PTA announced that its long-anticipated DIRBS would become functional on Oct 20, after which all unregistered mobile phones would become unusable.

PTA acting chairman Muhammad Naveed told the committee that it was not possible to push back the date for implementation of the DIRBS.

“Months of hard work and millions of dollars have been invested in this new system. The system was launched in May and several deadlines have been extended since then,” Mr Naveed informed the committee.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2018

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