Illicit phones may be disabled

Traders to be given grace period to register them
By Damith Wickremasekera

The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) will move to block the use of illegally imported mobile phones after offering a grace period to their traders, TRC Director General Anusha Palpita said.
Mr. Palpita told the Sunday Times that those who fail to comply with the TRC’s regulations will have their International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) blocked which will permanently disable these phones.
An estimated eight of the 15 million phones currently used in the country have been illegally imported to the country thereby depriving the State of taxes.

Mr. Palpita said he would ask the Police to conduct raids countrywide on outlets selling mobile phones if they fail to register their phones. He said that 60% of the country’s mobile market is saturated with cheap low quality phones imported from South Asian countries and China with some of them failing to meet the required safety standards.

“All imported mobile phones should be registered with the TRC and need to meet certain safety regulations,” Mr. Palpita said. He is of the view that several health hazards such as hearing problems and damage to the brain due to the poor quality of the equipment people use, are likely to crop up in the future.

According to him many traders avoid purchasing the TRC’s annual permit of Rs 10,000 to sell mobile phones “After giving a grace period for all traders of mobile phones to register with us we will be launching a crackdown with the assistance of the Police” he added.

He said that in future buyers of mobile phones will be able to verify, by using the SMS facility, if the equipment they purchased had been duly registered or not. Mr. Pelpita said the aim is not to disrupt the mobile phone business but to regularise it to maintain a high standard and safeguard consumers.

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