The government is set to launch the National Equipment Identity Register (NEIR) – a system capable to identifying unregistered mobile devices – on July 1, to prevent illegal mobile handsets from connecting to any telecom network.
Existing users of unregistered devices, including those who purchased their handsets from abroad, will get an option to register their phones, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission's (BTRC) Director General (Spectrum Division) Brig Gen Md Shahidul Alam said.
He added that the opportunity to register handsets will be available to users through online and SMS.
On 25 November last year, the BTRC signed an agreement with Synesis IT Ltd – a local private information technology company – for setting up the country's first infrastructure for identifying illegal mobile handsets that are active.
After setting up the technology, the regulator will be able to disconnect illegal phones that are not registered with the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) database from mobile networks.
As part of its move to crack down on illegal imports of mobile phones and duty evasion, the BTRC has been working to launch the NEIR system for several years. At the beginning of 2018, the telecom regulator launched the country's first IMEI database for mobile phones.
According to the BTRC, around 118 million IMEI numbers were added to the database over the last three years in consultation with phone importers, operators and Bangladeshi mobile manufacturers.
From the database, customers can check the legality of imported handsets simply by sending an SMS.