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    Bangladesh launches mobile identity register to block illegal phones

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    Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has launched the National Equipment Identity Register or NEIR to identify and block illegal and counterfeit mobile phones.
    The users of the illegal handsets that are getting connected to the networks of the country will get a notification and be given three months to change their mobiles.

    And the legal mobile phones were automatically registered on the NEIR by Jun 30. The new phones will also be automatically registered.

    BTRC says the registration will make it easier to recover stolen mobile phones.

    “It’s a memorable day,” Post and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar said after the launch of the NEIR at a virtual event on Thursday.

    He hopes the register will help ensure security on the digital platforms and raise revenue.

    He also said BTRC needs to be careful about the registration as he received many complaints about it from the users
    Brig Gen Shahidul Alam, a director of the regulator, said there will be no complaint after two to three more days.

    More than 1 billion handsets have been registered and 150 million more were awaiting the registration, according to him.

    The process to block illegal handsets will begin in full swing on Oct 1, said BTRC Chairman Shyam Sunder Sikder. He also said the BTRC will be careful so that the users do not face trouble.

    Subrata Roy MKaitra, a vice-chairman of the BTRC, said the NEIR will enable the law enforcers to identify who is using a stolen phone.

    “It has been possible to launch the process because we all in the telecom sector worked together. We’ve reached a milestone in building a Digital Bangladesh,” said Yasir Azman, CEO of Grameenphone.

    Post and Telecommunication Secretary Afzal Hossain and top officials of the mobile phone operators and the handset importers and manufacturers were also present.

    The BTRC is using the NEIR to check the customers’ NID number, the IMEI code of the device, and MSISDN number of the SIM card that uniquely identifies a subscription for the blockade.

    If a handset is found undocumented after it gets connected to the networks, its owner will be notified and given three months to switch to a legal device. The legal mobiles will get registered automatically.

    According to the BTRC, the users will be forced to dump the illegal phones because no SIM card will work on them after the given period of time.

    It signed a deal with Synesis IT in December 2020 for the NEIR technology.

    WHAT USERS SHOULD DO
    Customers will need to check the legal status of a mobile phone before buying it and then preserve the receipt.
    To check the legal status of a phone, they will first need to type “KYD15 digit IMEI number” and send the message to 16002.

    A reply SMS will confirm the legal status of the handset.

    MOBILES FROM ABROAD

    Mobile phones bought or got as a gift from abroad will be automatically connected to Bangladesh’s networks.

    But the users will have to submit information online within 10 days to register the handsets on the NEIR.

    The customers will get a notification seeking registration once a mobile phone brought from foreign countries joins the local networks.

    After the registration is complete, the mobile phone will be legal.

    Otherwise, the phone will be considered illegal and the users will be notified about the three-month time.
    To register online, the users will have to open an account on neir.btrc.gov.bd and choose Special Registration option.

    They will need to provide IMEI number, photo or scanned copies of necessary documents, such as visa and receipt.

    The customer care centres of the mobile phone operators will also provide the registration services.

    A traveller can bring maximum two mobile phones without duty and six more by paying the duty from abroad in line with the baggage rules.

    CHECKING LEGAL STATUS OF A PHONE

    To check the legal status of a phone, a customer will have to send the IMEI number by dialling *16161# and then selecting the Status Check option.

    The phone’s legal status will be confirmed in a reply SMS.

    The users can also check the status by using the Citizen Portal on neir.btrc.gov.bd or at the customer care centres of the mobile phone operators.

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