Lebanon Businessnews News

Mobile phones
regulation resurrected
Objective is to stop

contraband and counterfeits

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The Ministry of Telecommunications (MoT) has reactivated a law cancelled in 2014 to regulate the mobile devices market, and reduce illegal imports and counterfeited devices. The law will be effective 1st February, 2018.

The Ministry, in association with the cellular operators, will maintain a database of the serial identification number for each device, known as the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI). A device cannot access the networks unless it is identified by the database.

The law involves all devices that can access cellular networks through a SIM card such as mobile phones, PC tablets, routers, and dongles.

Importers will have to get the approval of the MoT for their products to verify that they meet the international GSM Association (GSMA) technical standards, and that shipments were processed through the proper customs and Value Added Tax (VAT) channels.

Importers and distributors who currently have stocks of original but illegitimate and unused devices can get the ministry’s approval to access the networks after paying custom fees, VAT, in addition to fines - this can only be done once.

Alain Barakeh, Business Unit Manager at Samsung CTC, agent of Samsung products, said that mobile users will greatly benefit once the market operates legally as they will get original devices, manufacturers’ guarantees, and reliable after-sales services. Barakeh said that these procedures will have no impact on the current market prices of original products.

Travelers entering the country cannot use their devices for a period exceeding 90 days in a single year.

End-users of counterfeited and/or illegally imported devices, who have not yet used their phone before December 11, 2017, should regularize their device before being able to use it, according to a process that will be finalized by the MoT and the Ministry of Finance and communicated to users. Those who are already using their illegally imported phone can continue to use it without any other implications.

Reported by Samer Rasbey
Date Posted: Dec 12, 2017
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