Illegal handset network prohibited

Illegal handsets will not benefit from network connectivity from today as the government seeks to stem the threat of tax evasion when importing mobile phones, which is also hurting the competitiveness of the devices. assembled locally.

To this end, the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on July 1 installed the National Equipment Identity Register (NEIR), a central database for International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), a Unique 15-digit identification or serial number built into mobile phones. .

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Currently, the import tariff for smartphones is around 57 percent, while for multifunction phones it is around 35 percent.

In preparation for the deployment of NEIR, the telecommunications regulator has registered all terminals used in local networks until June 30.

The trial period for NEIR, which was developed by Synesis IT, ended yesterday.

Between July 1 and September 30, 1.08 crore of handsets were activated in Bangladesh, according to BTRC data.

Among them, proof of importation of 29 percent has yet to be established.

“I have asked the BTRC to ensure that consumers do not suffer when trying to stop the illegal importation of handsets,” Post and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar told The Daily Star yesterday.

All stores that sell cell phones should hang a notice on how to check the legitimacy of cell phones should be made mandatory in all stores, he said.

Before purchasing a new handset in the local market, customers were asked to verify its legitimacy by sending a text message to 16002 containing the following: KYD (space) 15-digit IMEI number.

The IMEI numbers are printed on the handset box. Buyers can also find it by dialing * # 06 #.

The customer would be informed in response whether the handset is legal or not.

If someone sells illegal handsets, the seller must reimburse the price of the handset according to the customer’s claim, the telecommunications watchdog said, adding that legal action will be taken against retailers of illegal handsets.

Those who purchased handsets overseas for personal use or received them as gifts were asked to register the handsets by visiting the neir.btrc.gov.bd website.

There has been a decline in illicit cellphone sales after the introduction of NEIR technology, said Jakaria Shahid, general secretary of the Bangladesh Cellphone Importers Association.

“It will be even more beneficial to us when the new technology program kicks off on October 1,” he said.

Bangladesh had 17.7 crore of active mobile connections in July, according to BTRC data.

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