Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is launching a comprehensive initiative to discourage smuggling and theft of mobile devices, by blocking all these illegal handsets operating in the country.
The new system will be called ‘Device Identification Registration and Blocking System’ (DIRBS) and is going to be launched on Thursday. The system will use the distinct IMEI number of each device, along with other parameters, to help in identifying, monitoring and regulating such devices. The IMEI of illegal devices will be reported to the cellular companies and other concerned bodies and will be blocked later.
The telecom regulator of Pakistan will operate the DIRBS as a ‘Centralized Equipment Identity Register’ to discourage the use of mobile devices that are smuggled or illegally imported. This system will generate different lists, categorizing the legal status and authenticity of all handsets. Each distinct IMEI will be paired with a specific ‘Computerized National Identity Card’ (CNIC)belonging to its registered user, who must be officially connected through a particular cellular network.
How will DIRBS work?
Once the DIRBS system gets activated by PTA and the database starts adding stolen, smuggled and counterfeit devices IMEI’s, this would render the devices useless and would be unable to connect to local mobile networks. All those reported stolen and smuggled handsets would become blacklisted in PTA’s database and they would stop working.
Not only would this curb imports of mobile devices via illegal channels but also give the users reassurances that the phones they are using are approved by PTA. PTA will also install the required hardware, software and infrastructure for DIRBS to enable the mobile phone producers and network operators to report to PTA and block any illegal device or businesses that deal in stolen devices.
Moreover, DIRBS will provide; updated ‘Black Lists’, ‘Exception Lists’ and ‘Notification Lists’ to the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) at regular intervals. Consequently, the MNOs will use these lists for blocking and unblocking of mobile devices and intimation to the subscribers, wherever required.
This step will enhance the government revenue and benefit the telecom ecosystem. This type of system is already being implemented in other countries which have shown positive outcomes. In Pakistan, we also hope such a system will bring some positive changes in the mobile world.