PTA Launches System That Will Curb Mobile Theft and Smuggling
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) launched on Thursday the Mobile Devices Identification, Registration and Blocking Regulation System (DIRBS) to block stolen, smuggled and duplicate mobile phones in Pakistan. The new system uses the distinct IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number of each device, along with other parameters, to help in identifying, monitoring and regulating such devices. The IMEI of illegal or smuggled devices will be reported to the cellular companies and other concerned bodies and will be blocked later by PTA.
PTA Chairman Muhammad Naveed made the announcement of launching DIRBS as the PTA celebrates the milestone of 50 million broadband users reached recently across Pakistan. “Broadband subscribers that stood on 1.3 million till 2014 with limited speed offerings today has crossed a milestone of 50 million (2018) with mobile broadband speed crossing 20 Mbs (download) and fixed broadband speed crossing 100 Mbps (download).”
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.
In the first phase, stolen and lost devices would be blocked, while in the second phase devices that are in people’s use will be inspected. Also, subscribers will also be able to inquire about the status of their devices. The government has issued policy directives for the launch of 5G cellphone services on which work is currently underway.