Home News NCC push for phone IMEI submission

NCC push for phone IMEI submission

by Icnaija

Nigeria Communication Commissions (NCC) has disclosed that network providers will be required to cross-check all phones’ International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and status on a proposed Centralized Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) otherwise known as Device Management System (DMS) before allowing a device to become active on their network.

The directive claimed the move was to curtail the counterfeit mobile phone market, discourage mobile, phone theft, enhance National Security, protect consumer interest, increase revenue generation for the government, reduce rate of kidnapping, mitigate the use of stolen phones for crime, and facilitate blocking or tracking of stolen mobile phones and other smart devices.

To achieve this, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) would be responsible for the implementation and management of the DMS to achieve the policy objectives”.

The implementation of a Centralized Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) otherwise known as Device Management System (DMS) will serve as a repository for keeping records of all registered mobile phones’ International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and owners of such devices.

IMEIs that have been reported as either stolen or illegal will be shared through the DMS to all the operators and service providers. The purpose is to ensure that such devices do not work even if different SIM Cards are inserted in those devices”.

The Revised Policy publication also noted that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed “that the Device Management System should be implemented within three months.

This means any Nigerian who failed to comply will be unable to make calls, send text messages, or use the internet except through WiFi.

“DMS will also provide access to all operators to cross-check the IMEIs and their status before allowing a device to become active on their network.

“Furthermore, registered mobile phone technicians will also be provided with an interface to check IMEIs and ensure it has not been reported as stolen or illegal before they render their technical services”.

The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is an international identity number used to uniquely identify a mobile phone. The 15-digit IMEI number is an electronic fingerprint transmitted every time a phone is used, which reveals the identity of the mobile handset.

How to find out IMEI number

IMEI numbers are independent of the phone number and are usually written underneath the battery or on the back of the handset. Mobile phone users can also check their 15 digit IMEI number by dialing *#06# on their mobile handset.

Why Nigerians should be worried

  • Although the IMEI can be used to reduce the cases of phone theft, the 15-digit number offers more power.
  • It can give detailed information about a phone and its history.
  • This is a concern and shouldn’t be happening in this era of rising data privacy across the globe.
  • Such information in the hands of any governmental agency can be abused.

However, some smartphone manufacturers such as “Apple’s Find” and “Samsung’s Find My Device” already have features to track lost phones.

Country with a similar policy

Indonesia is currently operating a similar policy. The Indonesia Cell Phone Association (APSI) reported that almost 20% of all active phones in the country come from black market, costing the government annually, about $190.4 million in mixed tax revenues.

The said IMEI control regulation in the country was scheduled to start operations on April 18, 2020.

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