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.