ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has started sending Short Messaging Service (SMS) to all mobile subscribers to create public awareness about Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) which has been introduced to curb illegal imports.

Any mobile device reflecting non-compliant status after October 20, 2018 will be blocked as per PTA/DIRBS regulations. The System facilitates legitimate device importers and mobile device users, and improve overall security situation.

As per information issued here, telecom consumers can verify status of mobile device's International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) by sending IMEI number via SMS to 8484 or on website: www.dirbs.pta.gov.pk or by downloading DIRBS Android mobile application from Google Play Store.

The final phase of DIRBS shall begin on October 20, 2018. 

There are 4 categories of responses that can be received by a subscriber inquiring about status of its IMEI as explained below:

A Compliant Devices are PTA type approved and legally imported in Pakistan, Valid Devices are such devices where the IMEI of mobile device is valid (GSMA approved), however, it is not PTA compliant/approved.

In order to facilitate such users, PTA will auto register all such IMEIs which are observed on mobile network before October 20 and their status will be compliant after-this-date.

For auto registration, users are advised to do any revenue generating activity i.e. make any call, send a SMS or use mobile internet before October 20.

Non-Compliant devices are such devices where IMEI is either not allocated by GSMA or it is duplicated. To facilitate such users, PTA will auto pair all such IMEIs which are observed on mobile network with specific SIMs before October 20.

After this date, those users will be able to use these IMEIs with paired-SIMs-only. In order to auto pair all the IMEIs related to this mobile device, users are advised to do any revenue generating activity from their SIM(s), i.e. make any call, send a SMS or use mobile internet from their SIM(s) before October 20.

The blocked devices indicate that your IMEI is blocked as this IMEI has been reported stolen earlier. It is reiterated that mobile device users should verify their IMEI by sending SMS to 8484 before buying/obtaining any handset. It is advised to buy only PTA compliant/approved mobile devices.

Meanwhile, a senior PTA official said illegal and unregistered mobile handsets are a threat to public security as terrorists and criminals cannot be traced using mobile phones for any dangerous activity throughout the country.

In most of the cases, it has been observed that mobile handsets, usually without any identity, are used in criminal activities. These handsets are either brought from other countries, local market, or these were snatched or stolen from the public.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has implemented a system called as DIRBS which will simply make a non-compliant handset useless. It means handsets will not work on local networks.

A handset or any SIM-run devise is now required to be registered with PTA's system. An IMEI number of a phone is 15 digit code, which should be available in PTA's database or later a user could register his phone with PTA system.

After the first deadline, PTA will send messages to all unregistered handsets and ask them to get registered with DIRBS. This is a phase-wise process that will take a few months to be completed. The telecom authority will carry out awareness campaigns in different cities to educate the public.