Now the government is one step closer to check the menace
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commissio (BTRC) on Wednesday sealed the deal with Synesis IT, a local IT service provider, to identify handsets that were brought in to the country illegally.
About 30 percent of the 10 crore handsets currently in use in Bangladesh have been imported illegally, according to senior officials of the BTRC -- an exercise that deprives the government of import duty and also undercuts the competitiveness of the locally assembled mobile phones.
Now the government is one step closer to check the menace.
After a competitive tender, Synesis IT was awarded the contract earlier this month toprovide the equipment forNational Equipment Identity Registrar (NEIR) and also operate the system.
The NEIR will be a central database for International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), a unique 15-digit identification or serial number inbuilt in mobile phones.
One can find the 15-digit IMEI number of one’s handset by dialling *#06# and the number will flash on the screen.
Once the database is up and running, the regulator will be able to control the handset’s connectivity to the mobile network and block fake or cloned handsets. Customers will also be able to check the authenticity of their handsets by sending an SMS to the database.
An opportunity would be given to register thehandsets that were bought abroad before August last year. Thosewho purchased mobile phones from abroad should hold on to their receipts and the related documents for registering their handset’s IMEI when the NEIR kicks off.
On January 22 last year, the BTRC launched the mobile handset online database and since then all legally imported and assembled sets are being registered. To check whether the set is registered or not, once can send a message to the BTRC’s short code 16002 with the text: KYD followed by the 15-digit IMEI number.
TheNEIR, which will be developed with homegrown resources, will be ready by March next year, said Shohorab Ahmed Chowdhury, managing director of Synesis IT, at the agreement signing ceremony on Wednesday.
“We hope we can run this project by the month of April of next year,” he added.
Once up and running, the project, which was conceived in 2012, will bring in Tk 5,000 crore in revenue for the government, said Jahurul Haque, chairman of the telecom regulator.
“Thelaw enforcement agency will be able to nab the criminals easily with the NEIR system,” he added.
The BTRC in a notice in July last year asked citizens to check the authenticity of mobile handsets before making purchases and warned that it would disconnect fake handsets once the NEIR comes into operation.
Radisson Digital Technologies and Computer World BD will also work on the project in a joint venture with Synesis IT.