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19 February, 2020 12:55:56 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 19 February, 2020 11:33:29 AM
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BTRC moves further to cut fake handset growth

“We’ve already set up the IMIE database. After installing the NEIR, we’ll be able to detect and disable fake or closed handsets”
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
BTRC moves further to cut 
fake handset growth

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has floated a tender to complete the procurement of the National Equipment Identity Register (NEIR), a system used to curb the use of fake handsets. At present, neither the government nor the mobile phone operators and mobile phone importers have any tool to check the use of illegally imported handsets. This is causing losses valued at some Tk. 1,000 crore to the government and eroding sales of handsets imported by legal importers.

The Tk. 45-crore project for the supply, installation and operation of NEIR will be completed by July this year, said a high-ranking official of the BTRC. BTRC officials said the commission last month approved a proposal in this respect and got the nod from the post and telecommunications ministry. “We have completed the technological evaluation and public opinion survey for NEIR. Based on that, a tender proposal was prepared and floated on February 18,” a senior BTRC official told The Independent.

“We’ve already set up the IMIE database. After installing the NEIR, we’ll be able to detect and disable fake or closed handsets,” he said.

In a notice in July last year, the BTRC asked mobile phone users to check the authenticity of their mobile handsets before these are purchased and warned that the commission would disconnect fake handsets once the NEIR comes into operation. In the notice, the telecom regulator said if any mobile phone handset was found with a clone or a wrong IMEI number—a unique number used to mark a handset—it would be disconnected.

“Customers are advised to check the authenticity before buying handsets. In the message option of any phone, customers should type KYD15-digit IMEI number and send it to 16002” to receive proper information about the handset, said the BTRC notice, which was issued on July 29. “Also, customers can know IMEI information by dialling *#06#,” reads the notice.

BTRC officials say the clone IMEI handsets come mostly through illegal channels and are used for illegal activities as these cannot be tracked. In January this year, BTRC seized 700 mobile phone handsets that had been imported illegally during raids on Eastern Plaza and Motalib Plaza shopping complexes in the capital.

Earlier, last year, the BTRC sought the views of the public on draft directives on the NEIR for MNOs in Bangladesh. The NEIR is a database containing a list of all valid mobile equipment on the network. An Equipment Identity Register reduces the threats of mobile device thefts by enabling individual operators to prevent the use of stolen phones.

A Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) is a database of the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers of blacklisted handsets. If a device’s Emergency Services Network (ESN) or International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is listed on a CEIR, it is not supposed to work on member service providers’ networks (only paying members can access the database).

BTRC chairman Jahirul Haque said: “Individuals importing/carrying mobile devices from abroad for personal use will be required to register the IMEI of the devices in the National Equipment Identity Register (NEIR) through personal/manual/web registration interface provided by the NEIR.”

After the EIR verifies the device information, the request will be forwarded to the NEIR for further action. The NEIR, after necessary verifications, will shift the IMEI from the previous list (except those blacklisted—BL) to lost/stolen list (LSL), thereby blocking access to all MNO networks. If the IMEI is already blacklisted, it will remain there and no further action will be taken, according to the draft guidelines.

Under the draft guidelines, subscribers will request access to MNOs who will record the IMEI, mobile station international subscriber directory number (MSISDN), international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) and other attributes in the EIR of their own subscribers.

The EIR will check whether the device (IMEI) is a valid device type other than mobile phones by the device ID flag—vehicle trackers, digital utility meters, modems, etc. The EIR will allow it network access. If the device is detected to be a mobile phone, the EIR will check if the composite number (IMEI) is in the BLand/or Lost/Stolen List (LSL) provided by the NEIR. If the device is in the BLand/or LSL, the EIR will deny it access to the network, the guidelines say. If not, the EIR will check the White List (WL)/Grey List(GL)/Roaming List (RL), and if the composite number (IMEI+MSISDN) exists, the EIR will allow network access.

MNOs will ensure compatibility in order to be connected with the NEIR including, but not limited to, connectivity, protocol, API, etc. Necessary instructions related to integration will be given by the BTRC from time to time


IK

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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