PTA has started blocking illegal mobile phones after several warnings given over the past year to the importers, distributors, and retailers of such phones. Smuggling of any item into the country has a very negative impact on the economy. According to the market estimates only in the last one-year Rs. 130 billion worth of custom duties and taxes were evaded by a powerful mobile phone smuggling mafia who has created a complete eco-system for import and distribution of such devices. As PTA started to clean up the market by blocking such illegal phones, the powerful smuggling mafia has now pitched shopkeepers threating the Government of strikes to reverse their decision.
PTA has started cleaning up the market by blocking illegal Mobile Phones
Now the question arises, are such strikes really beneficial for the Mobile phone consumers and the shopkeepers? The answer definitely is a big, NO. The smugglers behind these strikes earn thousands of rupees per device leaving the shopkeepers with a very little margin. The shopkeepers can make a similar margin and maybe even a healthier margin if they start selling legal devices and at the same time protect consumer interest. Some of the Shopkeepers are forced into hoodwinking the customers by selling them illegal devices and trying to put the blame on PTA and FBR when questioned on the blocking of the phones. To ensure any inconvenience due to such fraudulent practices, consumers who are buying new or used phones should ask for PTA Approved Devices and verify their status prior to buying these phones. PTA has provided all details on their website i.e DIRBS
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has shown great maturity by working with FBR in giving amnesty to all the mobile phones that were operational on the mobile network and have made identification of mobile phone status and its registration user-friendly. It is important to note that PTA has recently launched Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) with the collaboration of Mobile Industry to curb the import and use of illegal specially stolen and smuggled devices in the country. The Launch of this new service is expected to yield dividends by the protection of consumers rights, cleaning up the market infected by illegal devices and at the same time increase the much-needed tax revenues for the country.
Most countries around the world such as Turkey, Azerbaijan, UAE, EU, and others have implemented such a system not only for the purpose of realizing taxation but for curbing crime and security reasons as well. According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, illegal mobile handsets that do not come with a valid IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number will not be allowed to work on the mobile network operators in Pakistan after the deadline.
As per the policy, individual phone owners coming from abroad will be able to register online their mobiles within 60 days
As per the policy, individual phone owners coming from abroad will be able to register online their mobiles within 60 days. One mobile/year is free whereas four other devices can be registered after paying duty/taxes.
The Government has shown its determination to curb illegal imports, facilitate legitimate device importers/mobile device users and improve the overall security situation. The legal and registered devices will help in creating a healthy mobile eco-system enhancing Government profitability and decrease the illegal import and misuse of mobile phones.
In my opinion, people should understand the true fact and meaning of such steps, instead of falling into the hands of smugglers ungracious steps. Being a nation, it is our responsibility to make our country prestigious and progressive by helping our Government in fruitful decisions.