Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is finally taking steps to ensure your stolen or lost phones do not get used by someone else. This new system is called Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS).
While this may be good news to unfortunate people who have had their phones stolen (hello Karachites?), to some this may even come as a bad news.
While the system will support the blockage of stolen phones if their matching IMEI numbers are provided to the authorities, it will also be blocking illegally acquired phones from abroad.
Pakistan has a large grey market where phones are bought and sold which are acquired through smuggling or through lost/stolen phones that come here from abroad.
In very simple words, PTA will now be able to keep a list of IMEIs. Since they will have the power to record IMEIs, they will now match each IMEI with identification cards. This means that you will no longer be able to register your phone with a cellular company if your phone does not have a registered IMEI number with PTA.
With the introduction of new taxes on high end smartphones, people were already looking at means to acquire phones via the grey market. And the grey market was set to become larger and larger because the taxes caused market to acquire phones through improper channel to evade taxes.