The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will launch a test run of the National Equipment Identity Registration (NEIR) from 1 July – which is a system capable of detecting illegal devices on mobile networks.
During this run, NEIR will check the legality of mobile devices connected to the network throughout the country, and automatically activate the legal ones by comparing their IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) with the BTRC database.
The BTRC will register all devices on the network up until 30 June regardless of their legal status. But after the test run, users of illegal handsets will receive three months to get their devices registered with the commission and remain connected, a notice said on Thursday.
Providing more details, BTRC officials told The Business Standard that following the three-month observation period, the commission will set the next course of action as per the government decision.
They added that NEIR will verify the legality of all mobile phones connecting to the network after July 1, but this system will not immediately disconnect the illegal ones after identification.
"We are providing the observation period as not all mobile phone operators are ready," said BTRC Vice-President Subrata Roy Maitra.
The Dos and Don'ts
The BTRC notice recommended users check the legality of any mobile device before making a purchase from sales points, digital retail shops and e-commerce platforms. Users should also collect and preserve their purchase receipt.
The verification can be performed by texting 'KYD [IMEI number]' to 16002 on any phone.
Mobile devices bought from foreign countries will also be automatically activated in the network but users will have to register within 10 days of activation. Otherwise, such devices will be considered illegal and users will be informed through SMS during the three-month observatory period.
In the beginning of 2019, the telecom regulator launched the first database of mobile phone IMEI numbers in a bid to curb illegal import.
According to the BTRC, around 118 million IMEI numbers were added to the database over the last two years after consulting with phone importers, operators and Bangladeshi mobile manufacturers.
Currently, the country has 17.41 crore, mobile users, under four operators.