Mobile Dealers Stand to Lose Millions as PTA Implements DIRBS System

Thousands of importers and shopkeepers of mobile handsets across the country are at the risk of facing losses worth millions due to PTA’s new process of device verification (also known as DIRBS)

Talking to ProPakistani, President Karachi Electronic Dealers Association (KEDA) Muhammad Rizwan said that small traders, especially shopkeepers, will face a crunch time after refurbished handsets go out of commission.

There are hundreds of shops in the country which are full of refurbished and reconditioned handsets with valid IMEI numbers. If they don’t get verified by PTA before the final deadline, they’ll be blacklisted and won’t work in Pakistan anymore.

According to the market estimates, the number of refurbished and reconditioned handsets consist of 40 percent of the market in terms of stock and sale.

Muhammad Rizwan said that this abrupt decision by the telecom watchdog will not only hurt the local businessmen but it will also create unemployment in different cities.

He suggested that the telecom regulator should devise a mechanism which should minimize tax evasion in the telecom sector including smuggling of handsets. Nearly 200,000 handsets are smuggled every month which causes losses to the national exchequer.

The dealers and shopkeepers are ready to pay taxes on these smartphones, he said. They could pay even a higher a tax of Rs.1,500 per handset instead of the normal tax of Rs. 1,000 per smartphone to the government.

Rizwan added that the government should allow refurbished and reconditioned handsets of valid IMEI numbers along with taxes rather than restricting businesses of the dealers and importers in the country.

According to him, refurbished and reconditioned smartphones are more affordable for a significant section of the population and banning them will keep them away from the use of technology.

Refurbished Handsets Affects Quality of Services

Refurbished and reconditioned handsets especially smartphones affect the quality of mobile network services in a negative way. Hence, the influx of such handsets should be stopped in the country, Talib Dogar, Director Services at PTA said.

Heavy imports of these smartphones is also making the country a dumping ground where these handsets are smuggled from the notorious market of different countries, he further said. These handsets are brought badly damaged from European countries, negatively affecting the network quality.

The handsets are easily used in the criminal activities and aren’t traceable in Pakistan posing a threat to public security.

According to our estimates, there are nearly 20 million refurbished and reconditioned handsets with valid IMEI numbers. These handsets will work for the next one and two years in the country, and will ultimately disappear significantly from the local market, he added.

We have met officials of mobile phones and dealers and informed them about our plan of implementing DIRBS in order to reduce losses to the stakeholders, he concluded.


  • “Muhammad Rizwan said that this abrupt decision by the telecom watchdog will not only hurt the local businessmen but it will also create unemployment in different cities.”

    Abrupt??? Like seriously??? Someone tell him PTA has been shouting since an year now that they are going to implement this.

    • shaitan

      It’s common in Pakistan for the government to make all sorts of statements but actual implementation is rare. They also change their minds frequently. We will have to wait until the 20th to see if they actually implement this system of blocking phones or not. They might just back down in the face of protests from shopkeepers. So overall it’s hard to take them seriously when they are so weak. People have been conditioned to be skeptical of whatever government officials say.

      • Leo

        The Govt has already changed their minds dear,,,,, ;)

  • Shurjil Butt

    Excellent decision. Smuggling is a crime. Period! No bullshits. The ones who smuggled phones, abb bhuggto !

    • Asher Ahmed

      Smuggling is a crime and what about the crime committing by local seller companies in Pakistan- third quality product at highest rate.
      i got 3-32 GB mobile from China @ 13.5k whereas such mobile selling in Pakistan at 18~20k, huge difference of price. United Mobile with their pathetic Repair Centre- two times i personally suffered – they changed the case, second time they changed the speaker and no remedy for it. Local mobile has no quality.

      • shaitan

        The reason for high prices is the small size of the Pakistani market. The Chinese and Indian markets are much larger so the sales volumes are higher there. Dealers can afford to sell at low profit per unit of product because they make it up in the sales volumes. Furthermore these phones are assembled in those two countries whereas in Pakistan we import everything. So the larger market means economies of scale and because they are assembled locally that means no import duties.

        • AbdulB1

          no you fool! it is 25 percent tax

  • Rashid Fahim

    ایسے تو پھر کرائے کے قاتلوں کو بھی پکڑ کر جیل میں ڈالنے سے بہت سے قاتل بیروزگار ہو جاتے ہیں۔ کیا لاجک ہے یار ان کی۔ جو کام جرم ہے وہ جرم ہے جس نے بھی کیا ہے اس نے بھگتنا ہے۔

  • I think it’s a great step for Pakistan prosperity and success. Great work PTA.

  • Fozia Zafar

    Smuggling of 200,000 devices every month ?. It’ll hurt only smugglers not BUSINESSMAN.
    A very good initiative taken by the PTA to block smuggled as well as unregistered devices.

    • shaitan

      It’ll also hurt government officials who take bribes to facilitate the smugglers. Customs officials for example. Border security as well. PTA should think about the lot of these fellow government servants.

      • AbdulB1

        lol

  • Imad Akhtar

    Only the smugglers are worried not the businessman if someone pay tax to PTA then there is no problem for them. Every person who have transparence business in terms of tax it will more beneficial for them. As everybody know there are huge price difference in PTA approved devices and smuggled devices before DIRBS people go for low price devices which are mostly smuggled. Now people’s will buy only PTA approved devices which is directly benefitiatal for businessmen and a huge loss for smuggler simple is that. Now everybody will understand better what kind of people are against DIRBS. Smugglers or businessman???

    • shaitan

      That’s not what is going to happen. Smugglers will pay the requisite bribes to get their phones registered with DIRBS. That’s all that will change. When people are corrupt computers can’t really help.

    • AbdulB1

      I bought an Infinix phone locally with PTA sticker. however the website said it still needs to make a call in order to get registered.

  • Munir Khan

    First of all PTA not blocking such phones abruptly and secondly what about millions of rupees lost every month we are bearing as a nation to feed these few culprits. These businessmen should do business within legal boundaries and stop damaging already crippled economy of the country.

    • shaitan

      Consumers are also benefiting from the cheaper smuggled phones so don’t play the victim card too much.

  • Muhammad Hamza

    Like seriously why are we so worried about smugglers losing any money while the nation’s economy is already suffering and we need to take every possible for economical progress of the nation

    • shaitan

      Because 40% of consumers will also suffer. Oh and this’ll only lead to more corruption. The smugglers will entice people who work with the DIRBS system to register the smuggled phones in return for bribes.

  • ikramullah mohmand

    A smuggler can take side of a smuggler. He won’t think of the 32 billion loss to the economy each year. Like come on man. Be a ProPakistani :-)

    • shaitan

      Phone imports are not that big a share of our imports. It’s the oil lobby that spreads these lies to take the focus away from their polluting business. Oil imports make up 23% of our imports and are by far the largest part of our imports. Phones actually reduce oil consumption because we can communicate remotely instead of meeting up in person and unnecessary trips are avoided when you can coordinate over the phone.

  • Salman

    A crime is crime no matter how big or small. PTA has been carrying out the awareness for a while now. The good thing is that all the devices currently active on mobile network will not be blocked. I fully stand with PTA and believe that it is the right approach to move forward.

  • Farhan Shahzad

    We should appreciate and support PTA for such a great initiative. People need to realise that such actions are necessary to stop illegal and sub-standard devices from capturing Pakistan Telecom market which will eventually benefit the consumers as they will get quality product which came through proper legal channel and has no issues.

  • Muhammad Umar Zia

    Smuggled phones/devices should block from now, we should appreciate PTA for such a great initiatives, as smugglers in pakistan already doing there activities very openly. Now they should stop now.

  • Mohsin

    It will be a big mistake of the current government if they allowed these smugglers to continue what they used to do.. They are doing this business from so many years and they agreed to pay taxes only when PTA caught them

  • Asher Ahmed

    Check the statement of Dogar “quality of mobile network services in a negative way”- PTA even don’t know what’s the quality of services in Pakistan. Ufone with 3G has pathetic net services.
    Most of Abbotabad Galiyat areas still not covered by National Operators.
    PTCL with EVO/Charji Pioneer still running network with same coverage the time it came into being but who cares for semi govt institute. UAE already pull out it’s profit and killing white elephant. PTCL Landline Broadband services – customer don’t know whether he’s getting full 4 MB net services or 1/2 MB services- current revision in prices and packages shows PTCL fully focused on profit rather than build more customers.
    PTA- whenever we asked Operator what are these Services charges deduct with Recharge – they moved us to PTA as they allowed such services and PTA says; As per telecom policy Operator can revise their tariff by keeping the market competition. Shameless justification null and void by Supreme court, now another move has no logic but to collect taxes- generate revenue so no one can raise finger on PTA Financial Progress to build revenue for the country.

  • JohnRed

    PTI talks a lot……no solutions…… delivery so far? Zero. Disappointed at performance.

  • asif khan

    I think the negative comments of the people by implementing such a great initiative by PTA shows two aspects.
    (1) The first aspect shows that how many smuggled businesses of devices were running in this country despite the fact that million or billion revenue is going to be wasted.
    (2) The second aspect is the Education Level of the people. Although many universities and colleges were established to bring positive change in people but unfortunately our education system also in failure in getting this change.
    If PTA has taken this decision to educate people regarding Telecom, we must appreciate this effort by heart and welcome any project leading for the better future of our country.

  • asif khan

    I think the negative comments of the people by implementing such a great initiative by PTA shows two aspects.
    (1) The first aspect shows that how many smuggled businesses of devices were running in this country despite the fact that million or billion revenue is going to be wasted.
    (2) The second aspect is the Education Level of the people. Although many universities and colleges were established to bring positive change in people but unfortunately our education system also in failure in getting this change.
    If PTA has taken this decision to educate people regarding Telecom, we must appreciate this effort by heart and welcome any project leading for the better future of our country.

  • If PTA Found the Smuggle Phone then launch notification to registered this fake phone with pay the taxes along with CNIC of user / shop wala
    May Be It will be helpful of us

  • AbdulB1

    “”Refurbished and reconditioned handsets especially smartphones affect the quality of mobile network services in a negative way. Hence, the influx of such handsets should be stopped in the country, Talib Dogar, Director Services at PTA said.”” he could be right but most phones coming from abroad are stolen or open boxed phones so his complain makes little sense.

  • AbdulB1

    To be honest they should block stolen phones from EU and NA instead of banning all these phones or make a fingerprint verification for each IMEI like the sim card it can dent smuggling.

  • AbdulB1

    I bought a infinix phone with PTA approved logo… when I checked it on the pta’s website even it was not registered in PTA’s database and I was asked to put sim in each slot and make a revenue generating activity so it can be registered on the database…. so the moral of the story is that official dealers were involved in the smuggling of device