Automatic robot arm with optical sensor working in mobile phone factory

he establishment of 26 manufacturing plants has brought in an investment of over $126 million and created over 10,000 jobs in a short span of seven months.

This was stated by Nauman Khalid, Director Type Approvals and Device Identification Registration & Blocking System (DIRBS) Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), on Monday.

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Nauman Khalid said that the government of Pakistan introduced Mobile Manufacturing Policy in June 2020 to encourage local manufacturing. Subsequently, the PTA issued Mobile Device Manufacturing (MDM) Regulations in 2021, which was a major milestone in the country’s journey towards “Digital Pakistan.” As of July 2021, the PTA has issued MDM authorization to 26 companies, including both foreign and local companies, with brands like Samsung, Vivo, Oppo, Nokia, Alcatel, Techno, Infinix, etc. Within seven months of MDM authorization issuance, 12.48 million mobile devices have been manufactured locally, which includes over 5 Million 4G smartphones. One company has also exported 5,000 “Made in Pakistan” smartphones to the UAE. The establishment of 26 manufacturing plants has brought in an investment of over US$ 126 million. Over 10,000 jobs have been created in a short span of 7 months. The local manufacturing plants are going to be instrumental in creating further job opportunities, enabling affordability for Pakistani users, and export of devices to global markets.

He further said the PTA developed the world’s first open-sourced Device Identification Registration & Blocking System (DIRBS), with the aim to curtail substandard/counterfeit mobile phone usage and discourage mobile phone theft and protect consumers interest. It is designed to address:

  • Blocking of prohibited devices in the market while helping legitimate device importers
  • Counterfeit devices (i.e. replicas of original devices)
  • Illegally imported devices (import tax not paid)
  • Devices with invalid or duplicate IMEIs, stolen/lost devices
Technical Details of DIRBS

It is a centralized system that takes input from GSMA, Consumers, CMOs, and importers/ original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and generates the following 3 lists:

  • White list: IMEIs of devices that are PTA type-approved and legally imported.
  • Black list: IMEIs of stolen/reported lost category and will not be allowed services.

Exception list: IMEIs which do not belong to either white or black list, and for which wireless communication is allowed.

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Impact of DIRBS on Commercial Import

Since the implementation of DIRBS, the import of mobile devices via legal channels increased by 62 percent with revenue of PKR 46.27 billion. In 2020, 38.14 million devices were imported with a revenue of PKR 54 billion, and in 2021 so far, 20.91 million devices have been imported through legal channels.

Other Impact of DIRBS

PTA has blocked 175 thousand devices IMEIs reported as stolen through the DIRBS. The System has also identified and blocked 26.03 Million fake/replica mobile devices from use on local networks. Moreover, 880,780 cloned/duplicated IMEIs against 5.28 Million MSISDN were identified and blocked. The connectivity of smartphones on the local networks has also been increased from 35 percent to 51 percent as of July 2021 after the implementation of DIRBS.