The Ministry of Telecommunications has resurrected a law to reduce illegal imports of counterfeit devices. This law was negated in 2014 , however to regulate the Lebanon Mobile devices market, Government has ordered to make this law effective from 1st, February,2018. MoT Lebanon Reactivates Illegal & Counterfeit Mobile Phone Regulation Law.
MoT in lebanon has decided to maintain a database of IMEI number for devices in collaboration with telecom operators. IMEI is a database of serial identification numbers. The device will not be able to access the network until it is identified by the database. This law includes all the devices such as phones, tablets and routers which accesses telecom networks through SIM cards.
The law will further ensure that mobile licensees actively identify such phones on their networks and maintain and update industry-wide database with information about such phones for the benefit of the mobile services sector worldwide. Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey and other countries in the region has already drafted regulations as such illegal devices are hurting the mobile eco-system.
Importers will have to get approval of MoT for their devices. Mobile licensees will become members of the International Mobile Equipment Identity Database (IMEI DB, formerly the CEIR) operated by the GSMA. If the meet GSMA technical standards, they will be allowed to ship devices under proper customs and Value Added Tax channels.
Distributors who already have original but unlawful, unused devices can get approval from Lebanon ministry for accessing networks. They will also have to pay custom fees, VAT and also some additional fines. Travellers who visit Lebanon will not be able to use their unregistered device after the period of 90 days in a year.
MoT Lebanon Reactivates Illegal & Counterfeit Mobile Phone Regulation Law
Alain Barakeh, Business Unit Manager at Samsung CTC, agent of Samsung products, said:
“Mobile users will greatly benefit once the market operates legally as they will get original devices, manufacturers’ guarantees, and reliable after-sales services. These procedures will have no impact on the current market prices of original products.”
MoT also ordered end users of illegally imported devices, who have not used phones before December 11, 2017 to regularize their devices before using it. Ministry of Finance and Mot has allowed the users already having counterfeit devices to use their illegally imported phones without any implications.
Reactivation of this law will help enhance government revenue by allowing devices imported through proper channel. The government will not only monitor devices brought in Lebanon but will also check the installed base of devices currently active or sold in channel.