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ECC empowers regulator to block stolen,duplicate identity phones

By Mehtab Haider
December 13, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The new telecommunication policy approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) empowers the regulator to block stolen phones and phones with duplicate identities.

According to approved telecommunication policy 2015, a copy of which is available with The News, the use of phones with duplicate identifiers and stolen phones will be blocked. In this regard, the PTA will develop a regulatory framework to ensure that:

a) Stolen phones, blocked phones, and phones with no duplicate or non-standard identifiers are blocked from use in Pakistan, and b) Mobile licensees actively identify such phones on their networks and will maintain and update industry-wide database with information about such phones for the benefit of the mobile services sector worldwide.

This framework will be developed in consultation with all relevant stakeholders. The framework will specify that:

a) Mobile terminal equipment must have a valid and unique IMEI or equivalent identifier.

b) Mobile licensees will become members of the International Mobile Equipment Identity Database (IMEI DB, formerly the CEIR) operated by the GSMA, or others as applicable.

c) Mobile licensees will include countries that are the source of a large number of stolen devices to Pakistan in their IMEI DB notification profile.

d) Mobile licensees will report stolen terminal equipment and terminal equipment with invalid identifiers to the IMEI DB on identification as such.

e) Mobile licensees will block stolen terminal equipment once reported.

f) Mobile licensees will not allow the registration of new terminal equipment with invalid identifiers on their networks.

g) Blocked identifiers will not be activated.

Telecommunications Terminal equipment will be subject to type approval based on international norms and testing by one of the approved set of laboratories. Approved laboratories may be in countries other than Pakistan.

On the issue of lawful interception, the telecom policy states that the federal government (MoIT) will prescribe rules for Lawful Interception (LI) as mandated under Telecommunication Act. In the light of these rules, framework will be prepared jointly by PTA and authorised agencies/organisations of the GoP. The rules will consider inter alia:

a) Mechanism for provisioning, maintenance, upgradation and expansion of LI facilities.

b) Possibility of joint provisioning of LI facilities by Licensees.

c) Provision for multi-stakeholder forum in the federal government (MoIT) to review and recommend adjustments in LI mechanisms and incidental regulatory adjustments.

Further, the development of new ways of delivering telecommunication services and the new services that are evolving means that lawful interception is a constantly evolving requirement. Lawful Interception requirement of such evolving services will preferably be met before commencement of such services or within an agreed upon timeframe.

Failing to comply with the agreed timelines will lead to the application of due regulatory process.The responsibility of retention of communication sessions related information will be the responsibility of the licensee as prescribed by the GoP.

The lawful interception functional model and systems will be transparent and based on international standards, such as ETSI.All government entities providing telecom services as licensees or otherwise under a specific authorisation shall provide LI facility as per provisions of their licenses or authorisation.