ISLAMABAD: Upon the directions of Senate Standing Committee on information technology (IT), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) agreed to extend the deadline for blocking unregistered mobile phones by two months.
The Senate body, during a meeting on Thursday, told PTA Chairman Mohammad Naveed and Director Talib Dogar — who had appeared before the members — that public was not properly aware of the move and demanded that an awareness campaign be launched for the masses.
The Minister of IT, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui of MQM-P was not present during the meeting. However, to decide further on the matter, the committee members directed the mobile phone companies to present a detailed briefing at the next meeting of the committee when the Federal Minister may appear in the next session.
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.