By Andy Sambidge
Operator says action will start on Wednesday to get tough on fake phones in the UAE
UAE telco du said on Tuesday that it will start blocking services from all counterfeit mobile phones from Wednesday, following a directive from the UAE's regulator.
du said in a statement that is will block all unauthorised international mobile equipment identities (IMEI) from December 21 to January 19 next year.
The UAE's telecoms regulator last month called on the country's two operators to get tough on fake mobile phones, whose number is estimated at 70,000 in the Gulf state.
du said on Tuesday: "We will commence blocking of all unauthorised IMEIs... This is in accordance with the directive from the Telecom regulatory Authority (TRA), to protect the UAE's consumers from the downfalls of using fake mobile handsets illegally in the UAE."
It added that it had already alerted the impacted customers via SMS.
du and rival Etisalat have been asked to identify counterfeit handsets and cut services to them by the end of 2011 and pass on their numbers to the regulator.
UAE law prohibits the use, sale, purchase or distribution of fake mobile phones and those violating the law will be given notices and fines and in some cases their retail licences withdrawn, the TRA said.
There are some 11 million mobile phones in use in the country, it added.
From a popular web forum:
So why are Invalid IMEI numbers are harmful? The IMEI number appears on the operatorâ€™s network whenever a call is made. If the IMEI number is not displayed, it is impossible to trace the caller or the phone or get call details. People may take advantage of this situation for secret communications, therefore, certain Governments will ban these untraceable handsets.
So the vague explanation by TRA "to protect the UAE's Consumers from the downfalls of using fake mobile handsets" does not make much sense.
So if you own a cheap handset, as long as it doesn't pretend to be a leading brand, or display the logos or trademarks of other brands, then the handset is in no way a " Fake" and owners could potentially claim compensation from DU if they are disconnected
This is one of the most confusing statements I have seen. There is no way you can assure that certain IMEIS (short of null ones) are fake, you can detect multiple handsets sharing an IMEI but one of them can still be the valid one. Oh well, this most likely will turn to be nothing as many regulator announcements here.
To TRA, stop pushing consumers to buy mobile from Du, Axiom and Etisalat because they are expensive. We don't need extra service charges and packages because they are also expensive. Lower the call rates and remove this duopoly. Stop implementing changes because only the low income are the most influenced.
@RamGopal, the law isn't to force you to buy from du or etisalat. The law is against fake products. We don't need fake products in the market. If you can't afford an original smartphone, there are cheap phones from Nokia and Samsung, deal with it while you can afford else. That's life.