Import of cellphones without IMEI number not to be allowed
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, (PTA), as part of its measures to curb misuse of SIMs, has disallowed those cellphones or smartphones which are being imported without any International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) or with fake IMEI number.
A task force headed by Chairman PTA was formed by Supreme Court to look into matter of issuance of Subscriber Identity Module (SIMs) in bulk and their misuse, had prepared recommendations to control bulk activation of SIMs being used in illegal activities.
These recommendations have also been sent to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), asking the Board not to clear consignments of cellular phones if the importer has not obtained type approval certificate from PTA.
Therefore, import of cellphones/smartphones that ship without any IMEI or with fake IMEI number should not be allowed.
An official source at PTA on Thursday said as per details, the importers and manufacturers would now have to submit these specification details to the PTA to get approval under section 29 of Pakistan Telecommunications (Re-Organisation) Act, 1996.
The official said PTA has long been working to block illegal sale of SIMs and phones that come without IMEI as mobile phone manufacturers, to keep the cost low, usually ship phones without IMEI which is a 14-digit unique identifier of each and every phone and is obtained by mobile phone manufacturers from Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA) against a cost.
Moreover, the official said the Committee after reviewing the matter in threadbare also proposed that a subscriber can activate only two SIMs through one handset in a day and total five SIMs can be activated through one handset.
He said phones without IMEI numbers are usually not traceable and potentially become a threat for National Security and law and order situation in the country. A call made from a handset without IMEI makes it difficult to prove who made or received specific phone calls as cellular companies cannot trace the specific handset.
The import of phones without IMEI is also banned in various other regional markets.
Answering a question, the official said the blockade of all such phones without IMEI or with dummy IMEI would hamper low-cost phones that are notorious for having no IMEI numbers.