Fake mobile handset identifying starts in September

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DHAKA, July 20, 2018 (BSS) – With the aim of thwarting import of fake mobile phone handsets as well as telephony based crimes, the telecom regulator is going to introduce IMEI database service in September.

Once the service is introduced, anyone will be able to ensure immediately whether the handset is legally or illegally imported by sending SMS to a short-code number. In addition, the system will also help the law enforcers to combat crimes being perpetrated using mobile handsets, said officials.

Talking to BSS, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) acting Chairman M Jahurul Haque said their concerned department is working to offer the service from mid-September.

“Hopefully, we could introduce the database system in the middle of September,” he added.

The database system housed in the BTRC is being implemented with technical and financial assistance of Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association (BMPIA). BTRC issued permission to the BMPIA in May last for the “NOC Automation and IMEI Database Creation and Storage System”.

BTRC officials said the commission has already been allotted a dedicated short-code number for it. They said mobile phone users in the country are being cheated buying handsets sealed with renowned brands of which many are actually “master-copy”.

A group of unscrupulous traders are bringing fake and master copy handsets illegally which have no actual International Mobile Equipment Identity or IMEI number.

To curb the import of these handsets, BTRC has taken this move, said the officials. They also opined government revenue from handset import would increase by Taka several hundred crore which is now being evaded by the illegal importers.

IMEI is a unique number assigned to a phone as identification number. This identifier is used while reporting the phone as lost or stolen in order to block the device. Anyone can see the number on the screen of their phone by dialing *#06#.

“After developing the database with the IMEI number of the handsets produced in the country and imported from abroad, any customer can know whether it is fake or genuine instantly,” said BMPIA Joint-Secretary General Mohammad Mesbahuddin.

Expecting to introduce it from mid-September, he said apart from the new handsets, they are also incorporating the IMEI number in the database of those handsets which have been produced in the country and imported from abroad in last two years.

“Alongside boosting the revenue earning of the government, the system would also help to minimize crime and abuse of mobile phone handsets,” added Mesbahuddin.

Officials said after introduction of the database system, if anyone uses a handset without IMEI number it is possible to deactivate the handset.

The IMEI number of the handset goes to the concerned mobile network operator immediately after starting use. It would also help to recover a stolen handset easily as indentifying the caller or user is possible easily even after changing SIM card.

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