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MDMS To Secure Mobile Devices: Won’t Hurt Current Grey Phones

MDMS (Mobile Device Management System) is to secure mobile devices and won’t compromise existing grey phone users, says Asst. Spokesman Achyutananda Mishra. Dispelling the concerns, he also revealed NTA will give grey phone owners more time to register their phones. He also said that once an unauthorized/grey phone is latched to any of the mobile networks in Nepal before Shrawan 1, they will be allowed to register for some time and have normal operations. So, as per him, NTA is bringing the MDMS system not to trouble the people but to facilitate the customers for better, secure mobile and services.

In a recent Clubhouse session held on MDMS arranged by Nepalitelecom, the chief guest, NTA’s Asst. Spokesman Achyutananda Mishra cleared out many hearsays surrounding grey phones. The discussion touched upon many concerns and we tried to learn as much as we could regarding MDMS and what it would mean for the current as well as future grey phones. Find out what he had to say about it.

Follow us for more of such discussion later on Clubhouse.

About MDMS

Nepal Telecommunications Authority is implementing the Mobile Device Management System (MDMS) from next fiscal year. MDMS is a software tool that will help NTA secure, monitor, and manage mobile devices operating on any cellular network in the country. The system will have the capacity to strip away telecom services on any device if it verifies them as unregistered.

Adding MDMS will help NTA strengthen its safety measures for phone users. They will feel more guarded by The Telecommunications authority with its advanced mobile management system which can automatically monitor devices currently operational in the country.

In the recent budget speech, Finance Minister hon. Bishnu Prasad Poudel announced that the government is implementing MDMS from Shrawan 1, the coming fiscal year 078/79 to curb grey phones in Nepal.

Check out: ICT, Telecom Sector In Budget 2078/79: Major Plans/Policies

MDMS Won’t Hurt Existing Grey Phones

The NTA Asst. Spokesman Mishra made it clear that NTA won’t compromise telecom services on existing grey phones. Rather, he revealed, the authority will be more lenient with the owners of unauthorized phones for some time.

“The telecommunication regulatory body will afford more time to the owners of such handsets so that they could register their devices but it is better if they registered their phones as soon as possible,” He added.

“MDMS is a part of a broader initiative of mobile management and curbing the grey phone is key. However, the emphasis lies on clamping down on phones coming via illegitimate channels from Shrawan 1 onwards,” he further elaborated.

Grey Phones After Bhadra 30

As mentioned above, NTA’s MDMS will come into effect after Shrawan 1 marking the beginning of advanced mobile regulation in Nepal. The advanced security software system will strip away telecom services on phones which come unregistered after Bhadra 30.

As soon as someone inserts a SIM of any network and receives the signal, MDMS will try and authenticate the IMEI of the device. If it can’t verify it, the system will blacklist the phone locking it out of mobile network capacities.

NTA’s objective is to minimize the number of unregistered phones to the bare minimum in the future. For this, NTA will coordinate with telcos, customs offices, phone makers, and all the stakeholders. Together, they will form a sophisticated network to implement the MDMS system beginning from Bhadra 30.

Meanwhile, NTA also urges citizens to buy phones of good quality (that of official ones) which conform to international standards so that the devices could be compatible with mobile services and security features.

MDMS: For the Benefit of Users

NTA Asst. Spokesman Mishra also made it clear that the government’s MDMS plans will benefit the phone users themselves. After Shrawan 1, every device Nepal bound must be registered at the NTA. This mandatory registration of phones will open up new regulations for the NTA which will benefit the end-users at last, for instance, in case of lost or stolen devices.

In case a user loses a phone or gets it stolen, they can contact the NTA or police that will help them retrieve the phone back because of MDMS. This is not possible now for grey phones because there won’t be any records of it at government agencies.

Additionally, MDMS will also help minimize threats, and any anti-social behavior resulting from unwanted phone calls. In sum, it will help protect phone users from possible incidents relating to their phones.

Additionally, the government will be able to collect its revenues from all the phones that enter Nepal. Grey phones have dodged the state taxes for years in millions. With MDMS however, as such phones will have no telecom service rendering them useless, more and more devices will become official, increasing the tax revenue out of it.

A Department Within NTA for MDMS

The Asst. spokesman Achyutananda Mishra revealed that NTA will be having a separate department to clamp down on grey phones. The previous strategies of monitoring and authenticating the phones have not been effective, in the absence of such a sophisticated system. Unauthorized phones are still at large entering Nepal via airport terminals and the borders with India. That is why NTA is setting up a dedicated new branch to lead its new mobile device monitoring system.

Grey phones occupy 5% of the Nepali market in Nepal. Some phones also arrive in gifts from Nepalese working abroad to their families and friends in Nepal. But mostly, open borders have been at fault. Due to light inspection at borders, retailers and buyers can purchase phones from India and bring them in evading customs. The result is, neither they are registered at NTA nor the government gets their taxes. To reverse this situation, MDMS will play a key role.

How To Register Phones?

Mr. Mishra suggested that current phone owners should confirm if their phone is registered at the NTA. He suggested current phone owners should take the help of NTA’s portal for the verification. Even if you have bought your current phone from official stores here in Nepal and you do not find them registered, you should register it on the NTA portal to avoid any mishaps in long term.

To confirm your device’s status, or in case if the device is not registered, go to the NTA portal, and fill up all the details. NTA will register your device and notify you via an SMS in some time period (as it is a manual process, it could take some days). The registration process is also known to improve with the implementation of the MDMS system, expresses Mr. Mishra.

Find the detail process for how to register your mobile phone IMEI online?

Asked if there is another alternative for people who are not familiar with websites or have no access to broadband, the Asst. Deputy Spokesman said NTA could launch other alternatives like SMS that will allow phone registrations soon. “Although NTA will prolong the deadline for existing grey phone owners, they should get their phones authenticated as soon as possible,” He further added.

A strong Network of Stake Holders

Mishra also said NTA will create a strong network of all the stakeholders to affirm its MDMS. The regulatory body coordinates with phone makers, distributors, carrier networks, law enforcement, customs officials, and every entity that will contribute to the MDMS policy. Working together in the system, they will ensure every phone that enters Nepal is already in the NTA’s books.

“Once it comes into effect, even secondhand buy and sell of phones will require re-registration of the new owners. NTA will block telecom services on any devices in condition when the SIM owner’s and phone owner’s names do not match.” He further revealed.

Also read: How to Track/Report Lost or Stolen Mobile Phone IMEI Online?

The government’s announcement on grey phones has caused quite a stir among the public regarding the fate of their grey phones. But thanks to the NTA Asst. Spokesperson Achyutananda Mishra, we are able to disseminate the right information at the right time to the public. We hope our post got you all covered on the whole MDMS and the ‘grey phone’ saga.

But we also suggest you confirm your device’s status and register them if needed as soon as possible. Because carrying a phone without mobile network signal and services is like carrying a bricked phone, deprived of its purposes.

Are you one of those concerned about the MDMS and the government’s plan with it? Has the article covered your concerns? Let us know in the comments below.

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