The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has further extended the deadline for blocking of mobile device IMEIs till 3rd June, 2020, for all GSMA valid IMEIs seen on mobile networks but currently not registered with the PTA.

The extension has been given to provide relief and facilitation to the public, and ensure social distancing during this difficult time. The blocking of such mobile devices will start from 4th June, 2020 and will be communicated via SMS well in time.

As per regulations, all mobile devices being connected to local networks using local SIM are subject to registration within 60 days from first use of device on local mobile networks in Pakistan.

However, due to extraordinary circumstances, non-registered device IMEIs which were to be blocked between 18th March to 3rd June, 2020 will now start getting blocked from 4th June 2020.

The PTA launched Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) from January 15, 2019.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is expecting to generate Rs56 billion of revenue on account of taxes/duties on commercial import of mobile phones/devices in 2019-2020 i.e. 154 percent increase compared to Rs22 billion during the same period of last year due to implementation of the DIRBS.

According to the PTA, the taxes/duties collected from individual consumers rose to Rs4.14 billion during the period 15th January 2019 to 12th February 2020, an untapped area and no revenue was collected before DIRBS implementation.

On the commercial import side, the revenue of Rs22 billion during last fiscal year 2018-2019 rose to Rs28.3 billion in just first six months of fiscal year 2019-2020.

According to the FBR, this figure is expected to rise to Rs56 billion by year end, a phenomenal increase of almost 154 percent, during a period of economic crisis.

Since the implementation of the DIRBS, a total of 100 million IMEIs were paired (Pairing means an IMEI is pegged to another unique identifier such as IMSI or MSISDN) through DIRBS of which 38.8 million had a valid GSMA identifier, but were duplicated and 61.7 million were not valid identifiers.

The Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and consumers twice requested and were granted extensions of the deadline for pairing.

These IMEIs have been allowed to work until the lifetime of the mobile device.

The PTA has also blocked 147,444 IMEIs reported stolen through the DIRBS during the year 2019.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020