The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is planning to complete installation of National Equipment Identity Register (NEIR), a system meant to check use of fake handsets, by this July.
To do so, the regulator will complete procurement of NEIR by April.
According to a tender called on Tuesday to install NEIR, an independent experienced firm will supply, install and operate NEIR at BTRC.
A BTRC official said the commission earlier this month approved a proposal in this regard and sent it to the post and telecommunication ministry for final nod.
"We have plans to complete the installation by July," he added.
At present, neither the government nor the mobile phone operators or the mobile phone importers have any tools to check use of handsets imported into the country illegally.
It is causing a loss of around Tk 10 billion to the public exchequer and eroding sales of handsets brought in by authorised importers.
NEIR would preserve international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) to make it easier to extract information about legally imported or locally manufactured headsets, according to BTRC.
The system would help block illegal equipment, mainly consisting of mobile handsets, from flooding the market and this would help the government realise a higher amount of revenue, thereby boosting sales of legally imported handsets.
Besides, it would allow prevention of trading in stolen handsets alongside paving the way for tightening security.
Apart from the move to install NEIR, the telecom regulator implemented another project on setting up of an international mobile equipment identity database that would help customers check whether any handset was imported legally or not.
The BTRC in a notice in July last year asked mobile phone users to check the authenticity of their mobile handsets before they purchased and warned that the commission would disconnect fake handsets, once NEIR would come into operation.
In the notice, the telecom regulator said if any mobile phone handset was found with clone or a wrong IMEI number, a unique number to mark a handset, it would be disconnected.
"Customers are advised to check the authenticity before buying handsets. In the message option of any phone, customers should type KYD15-digit IMEI number and send it to 16002 to get accurate information about his/her handset," said the notice issued by BTRC on July 29.
"Also, customers can know IMEI information by dialling *#06#," the notice reads.
BTRC officials say clone IMEI handsets come mostly through illegal channels and are used for carrying out illegal activities as those could not be tracked.
In January this year, BTRC seized 700 mobile phone handsets, which were imported illegally, during raids on Eastern Plaza and Motalib Plaza shopping complexes in the city.
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