ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has announced that Dec 1 is the deadline after which it will implement its new mechanism to counter the spread of smuggled mobile phones in the country.
The PTA maintains that it has developed a system using indigenous technology — the Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) — with the goal to curtail the sale and use of counterfeit, substandard mobile phones.
In October, the Senate Committee on Information Technology had directed the PTA to postpone the implementation of the phone registration system, which the committee said is an overwhelming undertaking, one that is difficult for people to understand and comply with. “This system is too confusing for the highly educated to wrap their heads around. We cannot imagine how those who are not will understand it,” said PPP Senator Robina Khalid.
Nevertheless, the PTA issued a statement announcing that it is going ahead with the mobile registration system from Dec 1. DIRBS has two operational phases. The PTA launched DIRBS in May and the deadline for phase I of the project was June 29.
The first phase was to allow the authority 45 days to launch an awareness campaign across the market, explaining how the new system is designed to work. It also included mapping and identification of the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers and blocking devices that are either stolen or are lost.
The second phase will be used to block all non-compliant devices. These are devises that are not registered with the Global System for Mobile Association and may be mass produced by manufacturers who do not comply with international standards of production, resulting in the infiltration of the market by counterfeit, possibly hazardous, mobile phones.
The authority said that the system has been developed to identify sub-standard, counterfeit and illegally imported mobile phones.
Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2018