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Registration of mobile phones: PTA asked to extend Oct 20 deadline

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on information technology asked the Pakistan Telecom­munication Authority’s (PTA) to extend its October 20 deadline for new system of mobile phones registration, since the mechanism is difficult for people to comprehend and then comply with.

“Considering the complications involved in the process, the committee asks the authorities to postpone the October 20 deadline,” said the chairperson of the committee, Senator Rubina Khalid of PPP.

Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh said the system of mobile phone registration seemed to favour telecom industry more than consumers.

The MQM-P senator warned to approach the Supreme Court to take suo motu action on the issue if the registration deadline was not extended.

“This system is too confusing for the literate to wrap their heads around. We cannot imagine how the illiterate will understand it,” said Ms Khalid.

Few days earlier, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority announced that all unregistered mobile phones across the country will be blocked after October 20.

PTA had launched Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) on May 10 this year, aimed to combat the use of smuggled or counterfeit sets which either serve to reduce tax revenues for the state or pose health problems to unsuspecting consumers.

“We recommend that consumers buy only PTA-approved phone sets after Oct 20,” according to PTA’s director general for services, Talib Dogar.

These are the devices that are not registered with the Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA) and may be mass-produced by manufactures who do not comply with international standards of production, resulting in the proliferation of counterfeit, possibly hazardous, mobile phones.

According to PTA, nearly 160 million compliant and non-complaint mobile devices, active on all the networks, had been legalised before the launch of DIRBS. All these devices would not face any service interruption as they would not be blocked by DIRBS.

How to check if your mobile phone is not registered

A cellphone user should text the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number printed on the box of a new handset to 8484. The automated reply will confirm whether your cellphone is registered with PTA or not.

But, according to PTA, the consumer should pay for the handset only after he/she receives reply that the set is compliant with the regulatory standards.




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