KARACHI: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has advised all mobile phone consumers, importers and sellers to get non-operational/inactive mobile devices verified before 15th of June 2018 as all unregistered mobile devices will be blocked after the deadline. Mobile phone users in Pakistan must verify authenticity of the mobile device in line with PTA regulations prior to buying a mobile device(s), said the telecom regulator.The PTA has launched Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) that will atomically block all smuggled and unregistered smart-phones as well as feature phones in the country. The mobile devices that are imported through legal channels in Pakistan will have PTA approved IMEI numbers only. IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a unique number issued to every mobile phone by the mobile manufacturer. The list of IMEIs that a manufacturer can use in their phones is issued by GSMA, which is a global authority that represents mobile operators from around the world.The PTA, through a public notice, informed the mobile handsets’ buyers/users in the country to buy/use only PTA approved mobile devices. According to PTA, the system (DIRBS) allows consumers to verify IMEI of mobile device(s) to ensure that device(s) is genuine, legal import with all applicable duties and taxes paid and compliant to DIRBS regulations and SOP.It is important to mention here that PTA has assured that mobile devices currently operational/active on mobile networks in Pakistan will not be affected and do not need to be verified. However, mobile devices non-operational/inactive must be made compliant by 15th June, 2018, advised PTA.Prior to getting a mobile device(s), the mobile phone user/buyer are advised to verify authenticity in line with PTA regulations sending IMEI of mobile device to 8484, where system will provide status of device, said the regulator.To avoid blocking of IMEI, consumers may also verify their devices by logging on to PTA’s official website to check status of IMEI of the device.Also, DIRBS App is available on Google and Apple Play Store, but, prior to verifying device using DIRBS, ensure that IMEI appearing on the mobile device screen is same as printed on the product box, it added. IMEI can be found of any mobile device by dialing *#06#.It is to be noted that IMEI number is also considered invalid if phone is manufactured by a low-end Chinese company that didn’t use a GSMA approved IMEI number or the mobile device got flashed and the software is re-installed.Published in Daily Times, May 13th 2018.