Everything you need to know about DIRBS, rules and regulations

By Muneeb Ahmad on
March 12, 2019
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Soon after the Pakistani government has announced it, Device Identification Registration and Blocking System or more commonly known as DIRBS has started to echo on different local social and digital platforms.

Non-compliant or low-quality phones (feature and smartphones) have long been used in Pakistan causing health issues and rupturing the tax net. Originally designed by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the DIRBS system was introduced to curb the system of illegal or non-compliant phones from operating within the country’s jurisdiction. Follow along, as we take a dive into the nitty-gritty details about the system.

So, What exactly is DIRBS:

Quite evident from the name itself, Device Identification Registration and Blocking System is basically a system developed to find out the non-compliant devices which are operating on the local public mobile networks. The system is capable of automatically identifying mobile phones which are fake makes, sub-standard or are illegally imported. The system will also help curb smartphone thefts and bring the operating smartphones into a regulated net.

The system has been in operations in Pakistan since 1st of December, 2018.

Rules and Regulations:

For previously functional mobile devices:

  • Soon after the system was announced, the government introduced a set of procedures to help the existing users get onboard the new system. All of the mobile phones which were already approved by PTA were made operational if they were activated on some local cellular networks.
  • This exemption even applied to the non-compliant mobile phones; the mobile phones with non-compliant IMEIs were made operational against the SIMs they were operating on for the duration of the physical life of the smartphone.

For the users who wish to buy new mobile devices after DIRBS:

  • Every individual who wishes to buy a new smartphone in Pakistan must check the compliance of the mobile phone IMEI with PTA before making the purchase.
  • The validity of the mobile phone either by sending the IMEI number to 8484 in a text message or through the PTA website. Android users can also download the DIRBS android mobile application to know this status.

For International Buyers/Travelers:

  • According to the rules, every passenger can bring one mobile phone from abroad and get its IMEI registered with PTA without paying any duty as long as his/her stay abroad was of more than 7 days.
  • A Duty/Tax plan was duly shared with the mobile phone users so that they are able to get their second new smartphones approved against the new DIRBS system.
  • The registration of mobile devices could either be done at the Custom Kiosks at airports or at the nearest Customs office within 15 days of arrival, failing this condition would force DIRBS to automatically detect and block the non-registered smartphones.
  • The users can also register their mobile phones at the online mobile registration system.

For Foreigners:

  • Foreigners, who intend to visit Pakistan for a short period of time, would not have to pay any custom duties as long as they are using roaming services on their original SIMs. In case a foreigner wants to shift to a local network provider, he/she would have to register their smartphones by paying the admissible taxes.

Important Attachments:

  • Check out the applicable duty/tax structure on the import of mobile handsets from here.
  • Check out the list of PTA-approved handsets and their custom values from here.
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