PTA to Set Up A System To Block Stolen Mobile Phones

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has decided to establish a Mobile Devices Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) in its efforts to stop the use of unauthorized and stolen mobile handsets. The move has been taken in order to protect mobile phone users’ data across the country.

According to the draft of Mobile Devices Identification, Registration and Blocking Regulations, 2017, PTA will establish DIRBS and prescribe Standard Operating Procedures for its implementation on technical, management and operational matters.

The planned system has come about due to the much-needed demand of the stakeholders and customers of mobile handsets users including Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs).

PTA Regulations on DIRBS

All mobile operators and type approval holders shall ensure that non-compliant mobile devices shall not be imported, sold, marketed or connected with the mobile operators’ networks.

Stolen phones, blocked phones, and phones with duplicate or non-standard identifiers shall be blocked by MNO(s) from use in Pakistan.

Mobile phone owners/ subscribers may report their lost/stolen mobile devices blocked on the helpline of mobile phone companies that will be set up accordingly.

Subscribers may prove the authenticity of their duplicated IMEI device(s) which have been blocked, by submitting valid documents to PTA and get services restored through pairing, if device is ascertained to be compliant as a result of scrutiny of the submitted documents to PTA.

Individuals importing/carrying device(s) for personal use will be required to apply for certification of compliance to technical standards for IMEI devices issued by PTA.

Un-registered devices will be denied mobile communication service by the MNO (s) and will be included in the Black list by mobile phone operators if found operational on the public switched network.

Any blacklisted mobile device will not be activated except for lost/stolen and type approved devices which are verified by the mobile operators and DIRBS in accordance with the SOP approved by the PTA.

Instructions to Mobile Network Operators/ Handsets Companies

Mobile licensees will become members of the International Mobile Equipment Identity Database (IMEI DB, formerly the CEIR) operated by the GSMA, or others as applicable. Mobile licensees will include countries that are the source of a large number of stolen devices to Pakistan in their IMEI DB notification profile.

All MNOs shall carry out extensive media campaigns through SMS broadcasts, at their own cost, to educate consumers for the requirement to verify the validity of the mobile devices in their use and the procedure for verification of mobile devices available for sale/purchase , using the field verification system of DIRBS.

The MNOs, Authorized Dealers and Type Approval Holders shall establish an efficient methodology promptly receive, process and respond to complaints, by subscribers regarding their devices.

They shall make all reasonable efforts to resolve complaints in accordance with the Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations,2009 .

Mobile operators shall not disclose the contents of any data being transmitted or received from DIRBS. It must remain under their control except to the extent permitted by PTA in writing or through any regulation/instruction/directive.

MNOs shall take all reasonable measures to safeguard the databases from unauthorized interception or unauthorized access.

All type approval holders/Authorized Distributers/ OEMs shall provide accurate information of type approved devices for issuance of certification of compliance to technical standards for IMEI devices by PTA in order to maintain the updated list of IMEI numbers of devices in the DIRB System.

The complete draft of the regulations could be viewed here.