PTA blocked phones are being unlocked in black market for as low as Rs. 2000
The black market seems to have a solution for everything.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had started blocking the unregistered or illegal smartphones and feature phones in Pakistan since the 30th of April, after a delay of several months. But people have found a way out of this. The blocked phones from PTA are being unblocked on the black market at Rs. 2000 and Rs. 3000 depending on the handset.
During a meeting between Senate standing committee and the Ministry of Information Technology, Senator Mian Mohammad Ateeq Shaikh raised the issue, saying that the blocked smartphones are being unblocked on the black market for 2000 or 3000 rupees. He said that these mobile phones being unblocked at this cheap rate would have fetched the national treasury.
The senator even showed a receipt to the committee members and IT ministry officials to prove that someone had gotten their phone unblocked on the black market.
PTA is blocking those smartphones which are not registered under the device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS), a system that the authorities launched last year in May. The purpose of launching this system was to curb the system of illegal or non-compliant phones from operating within the country’s jurisdiction.
According to PTA, there are around 3 million smuggled and non-custom paid smartphones in Pakistan which include feature phones as well. PTA planned to block the devices in several phases, but with the question raised by the senator, it truly raises questions whether blocking these phones will yield any benefit to the country or not because if people can get them unblocked on the black market all of the previous efforts was for none.
The authorities should also target the black market individuals who are unlocking these phones illegally, to ensure that the mobile phones which PTA is blocking remain blocked forever unless the tax amount on it is paid.
Recently you might have received a text message from shortcode ‘8484’, a shortcode used by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority that you need to register your cellular devices before October 20th, after that your devices will get blocked.
If you have purchased a branded (packed) phone from the market, it will be duty paid. In that case you don’t have to worry because when you insert your SIM or connect with a network for the first time, your phone is registered automatically. However, if you have bought a Chinese phone of an unknown brand or unpacked phone, also known as kits in the local market, your device will be blocked after January 15. To get it unblocked, you will have to pay a fine equal in value to 10% of the customs duty on the given handset.
As indicated by an order issued by the PTA, mobile users presently need to enroll their cellular gadgets with the authority before October 20 to keep away from blockage.
PTA has propelled a confirmation framework called ‘Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System’ (DIRBS). The framework is gone for guaranteeing a solid development of cell phone ecosystem in Pakistan and it will guarantee utilization of legal gadgets on the mobile networks.
What is IMEI number?
IMEI number is a unique code given to your mobile phone similar to a vehicle identification number. If blocked you can’t use your cellular device to access any mobile network in Pakistan and your phone won’t be able to make or receive any calls.
How to check IMEI number?
IMEI number which can be checked by any of the following methods:
- Method 1: Dial *#06# on your mobile.
- Method 2: Go to ‘Settings‘ and ‘About Phone‘ section of your smartphone.
- Method 3: It is also printed on your mobile phone’s box.
- Method 4: If your phone has a removable battery, remove back cover and battery to find the IMEI number.
How to register phone with PTA:
There are three ways a user can register the device.
Method 1: Via SMS by sending the IMEI number to 8484
When you send the message to 8484 you will receive one of the following messages:
- IMEI is compliant Device IMEI is Valid. Insert SIM and make a call/SMS to anyone on or before 20/10/18 date for auto registration.
- Device IMEI is non-compliant. Please insert all your SIMs in this device and use them before 20/10/18 date to continue using this device.
- Device IMEI is blocked. Reported stolen.
Method 2: Through PTA website
- Click on this URL on your phone’s screen https://dirbs.pta.gov.pk/
- Enter your 15 digits IMEI Number in the required field.
Method 3: PTA mobile application
- Download PTA app from Play Store by clicking the following link https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=pk.gov.dirbs.dvspublic
- Install the App on your device, Open the App once installed and then follow the simple instructions to enter your IMEI Number.
PTA, for the understanding of users, has explained the next steps to be taken in case your IMEI number is not valid.