ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Thursday extended its deadline for blocking unregistered mobile phones till further notice in line with the concerns highlighted by Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology.
Earlier, PTA had said that unregistered mobile phones will become unusable after October 2 as its Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) becomes active. DIRBS aims to curb the sale smuggled or counterfeit mobile phones.
In a meeting on Thursday, PTA Chairman Mohammad Naveed and Director General Services Talib Dogar were asked by the committee if they had extensive forensic data of smuggled mobile phones. In response, the chairman said that stolen mobile phones could be traced through the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number.
“PTA will only shut down non-compliant IMEI devices,” he stressed.
However, the Senate committee expressed its reservations over the drive as there are multiple mobile phones registered on the same IMEI number, and blocking one number would impact all users.
In response, PTA representatives said that mobile phones with unregistered or duplicate IMEIs posed problems for security agencies as it becomes difficult to trace stolen mobile phones.
They further claimed that initiating DIRBS will also increase import revenues.
Not to be placated, the standing committee said that there was a lack of awareness as DIRBS was creating panic among the people. It directed PTA to initiate awareness drives to educate the public about the campaign.