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Registration of Mobile IMEI by EIR System in Nepal and its benefits

Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), the authorized body for the telecommunication sector, has already implemented the EIR system in Nepal by introducing Interim Directives for Implementation of the National EIR System, 2072. NTA has planned to introduce the full-fledged implementation of the national EIR system (MDMS) in Nepal very soon. This article explores the EIR system (MDMS), the Current status, and the benefits of IMEI registration by the EIR System in Nepal.

Read more: Government to introduce MDMS (Mobile device management system) as Centralized EIR to curb grey phones

Equipment Identity Register (EIR) System

Equipment Identity Register (EIR) is the database of the IMEI number of mobile devices. There are three types of databases. They are a whitelist, a grey list, and a blacklist. The blacklist is the database of IMEI number of mobiles, that are either reported stolen or whose operation in the network adversely affects network operation. These mobiles will not be allowed to access the network.

Greylist is the database of IMEI numbers of mobile phones, that are classed as non-conforming but may be used on the network. The white list is the database of IMEI number of phones, that conform to requirements set down by the network operator.

The National EIR system is the database of the IMEI number of mobile devices registered inside the country. Following are the reasons for the implementation of the National EIR system.

  • To increase the tax revenue from the import of mobile handsets by discouraging the illegal import of mobile handsets.
  • Ensure consumer security and national security.
  • Trace or block the lost or stolen handset.
  • To secure the market for genuine mobile handsets.

What is the IMEI number?

IMEI is the abbreviation for International Mobile Equipment Identity. It is a unique identification or serial number that all mobile devices have. Normally it is 15 digits long. Global System Mobile Association (GSMA) is the Issuing Authority for the IMEI number. In the case of mobile handsets, the IMEI number can be found on the backside or under the battery pack, or on the box. You can display the IMEI number of your mobile handset by dialing *#06# into the keyboard.

Current Status of Nepal

Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) is a regulatory body of telecommunication sectors in Nepal. There are 6 voice operators in Nepal. They are Nepal Doorsanchar Company Ltd. (NTC), Ncell Pvt. Lt.d., Smart Telecom Pvt. Ltd., United Telecom Ltd., Nepal Satellite Telecom Pvt. Ltd., and C. G. Communication Pvt. Ltd.

NTA has started the registration of IMEI of mobile devices since Baishakh 1, 2073 by issuing Interim Directives for Implementation of National EIR System, 2072. As per this provision, only those mobile devices whose IMEI numbers are registered in NTA are released from the customs offices.

In case of lost or stolen handsets, the customer needs to file an application to NTA. After receiving the application from the individual NTA will trace the IMEI number of such mobile handset through the operator. Then they will provide received details from the operator to the Nepal Police for further investigation.

Also Read: NTA starts Online registration of Mobile phone IMEI.

Suggestions for Implementation of EIR system in Nepal

Following suggestions have been made to the NTA for the implementation of the EIR system in Nepal.

  • NTA needs to issue the necessary legislative document for the implementation of the EIR system in Nepal.
  • NTA needs to establish the national EIR system.
  • The national EIR system shall be the white list based to allow the telecommunication services for the mobile devices whose IMEI numbers are already registered to the system.
  • NTA needs to fix certain registration fees to make the national EIR system self-sustained.

Benefits from Implementation of EIR system in Nepal

Here are the benefits of the implementation of the EIR system in Nepal.

If your mobile handset is lost or stolen, you can report it to either NTA or Nepal police. Then NTA will trace your mobile handset with the help of a registered IMEI. You may get back your lost or stolen mobile handset if it is being used. If that handset is not operated by any of the operators, you can block your mobile handset and make it just like a dummy.

Check out: NTA’s latest statement on the Phone registration portal issue

The genuine importers, manufacturers of mobile handsets can be benefited by getting a secure market by killing the grey markets of mobile devices. They will also have marketing advantages about the genuineness of the mobile handsets.

Telcos will be also benefited from the establishment of a shared equipment identity register system. They do not need to make huge investment separately for the establishment of own EIR (Equipment Identity Register) system to fulfill the all regulatory requirement. They can improve the quality of service by removal of counterfeit and sub-standard mobile handsets in use.

The country can be benefited by getting more tax revenue from the import of mobile devices because illegal imports of mobile devices can be discouraged. After killing the grey markets of mobile devices, the government may impose certain duties and remove the VAT rebate for the importers of mobile devices. With the help of registered IMEI numbers, the country can ensure consumer security and national security by tracking the threats and terrorism activities using a mobile device. Check out How Nta is going to block grey, unregistered and illegal phones

Hence, implementation of the EIR system (MDMS) is advantageous to all stakeholders like the government, regulators, telcos, handset manufacturers, handset importer/distributors, and of course the general public.

Author: Er. Binod Chandra Shrestha

Deputy Director, Nepal Telecommunications Authority

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