In line with the Telecom Policy 2015, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) launched a phone verification system named “Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System” (DIRBS) today at PTA Headquarters Islamabad. Member Compliance & Enforcement gave presentation on DIRBS during the event.
In this event, Chairman PTA said that the Authority is cognizant of telecom consumers’ needs and is taking number of steps to facilitate them in resolving their issues. Launch of this new service is yet another evidence of PTA’s sincerity towards its vision of protection of telecom consumers and their rights. He said that this system will be implemented to automatically Identify sub-standard, fake, and illegally imported mobile phones, register and block non-compliant devices on mobile phone networks. This unique system will curb illegal imports, facilitate legitimate device importers, and mobile device users, and improve overall security situation.
The Chairman said that PTA has always been engaged in facilitating telecom consumers with best telecom services along with due protection of their rights. Chairman further added that the statistics of telecom growth in Pakistan are evident of the satisfaction level of telecom consumers with the quality of telecom services provided to them. He said that today the mobile operators have increased this coverage to over 65% of the population. Broadband subscribers that stood on 1.3 million till 2014 with limited speed offerings today has crossed a milestone of 50 million (2018) with mobile broadband speed crossing 20 Mbs (download) and fixed broadband speed crossing 100 Mbps (download).
It is pertinent to mention here that, through Device Verification System (DVS) telecom consumers can verify authenticity of their mobile devices in line with PTA regulations via SMS to 8484.
As usual INCPak bring PTA Phone verification right here for you as we did when PTA was verifying SIMs.
Results of IMEI Checks
While checking the IMEI number of your phone through the above three methods, there could be three possible outcomes for your phone:
- Valid IMEI: This means that your phone IMEI is GSMA approved but not PTA approved.
- Invalid IMEI: Not a GSMA approved IMEI, nor PTA approved.
- Compliant IMEI: It is both GSMA approved and PTA approved IMEI number.Depending on your scenario, here’s what you need to do to register your smartphone so that it doesn’t get blocked from normal use later on.
Invalid IMEI Numbers
Below are the possible scenarios if your IMEI number is Invalid:
- Your phone is manufactured by a low-end Chinese company that didn’t use a GSMA approved IMEI number
- You flashed your phone (re-installed the software) and now your new IMEI is not GSMA approved
Those with Invalid IMEI numbers, will get an SMS from the DIRBS system directing them to pair their smartphone with SIMs that they want to use on this phone. After a certain deadline (that will be mentioned in SMS from DIRBS), this phone won’t accept any new SIM.
So for example if your smartphone has an Invalid IMEI number, you must use all the SIMs that you want to use with this smartphone till the end of deadline. After the deadline, you won’t be able to use a non-paired SIM on this phone.
Using a SIM means, making at least one revenue generating activity, i.e. make a call, send an SMS or use mobile internet.
Once paired with a SIM, phones with Invalid IMEI numbers can be used with only these SIMs till the end of life of the phone.
And if you haven’t paired the phone (with Invalid IMEI) before the deadline, you won’t be able to use this phone ever again in life in Pakistan.
Valid IMEI (but Not Compliant)
There are some phones which could have a Valid IMEI but not Compliant IMEI numbers. This usually happens if:
- You bought a phone from Dubai and took it back with you in Pakistan,
- You ordered a phone from Ali Express that was delivered to you through a courier company,
- You bought the phone from an online store that imported the device from abroad,
- Your cousin brought you a new Smartphone from US,
- You are using a test device issued by phone companies.
Phones with Valid IMEIs but not Compliant IMEIs must use the phone at once — with any SIM — before the deadline (that will be communicated to you in the SMS sent by (DIRBS/PTA).
If you use this phone before the deadline, then you will never be asked to register the phone. In fact, you can use other SIMs on these phones without the need to pair them.
If these phones are used before deadline, you will be allowed to use them as normal for the remainder of their life, just like you do it now.
If a phone (with valid but not complaint IMEI) was never used even once after the deadline then you will be given around 20 days to register the IMEI numbers with PTA, i.e. by going to PTA’s website and getting an NOC from there.
This is the same NOC that is currently required if you order a phone from Ali Express or from anywhere else.
Not to mention, after the deadline, a custom fee might be required in order to get an NOC from PTA to register the IMEI number.
Also remember that all those phones with Valid (but not compliant) IMEI numbers will not be allowed to register with Pakistani mobile networks if deadline expires and if NOC is not obtained.
Those phones with compliant IMEI — that is with Valid and PTA approved IMEIs — need to do nothing. They can continue using their smartphones as they were using before and there is not going to be any restriction on them whatsoever.