The Ministry of Telecommunications (MoT) announced that, starting May 5, the obligatory registration of the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) will be cancelled. This decision was taken by the former Minister. IMEI was mandatory to access local mobile network.
The MoT also launched electronic and credit card payment of landline telephone and Internet bills. The Ministry and Ogero have finalized technical and operational processes to launch this operation. E-bill payment will start as of May. This step will improve bill collection.
Minister Boutros Harb said that the IMEI had many negative effects. People considered it as time consuming and irrelevant, especially those coming from abroad. He said the IMEI registration is complicated because it makes exchanging, selling, or buying a used mobile phone, less user friendly.
The IMEI decision withdrew the concept of mobile telephony, and made it look like a fixed landline phone, said Harb. The IMEI registration had also negative economic effects, as it increased the cost of new mobile phones.
Instead of controlling phone smuggling, the registration process harmed small mobile traders. Harb said that additional Customs revenues from mobile phones did not exceed $13 million last year.