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Jakarta Post

Government to test illegal cellphone restrictions based on IMEI

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, January 29, 2020   /   12:15 pm
Government to test illegal cellphone restrictions based on IMEI The government will test its planned restriction of illegal cellphones using the devices’ unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers before it implements the new regulation in April. (Shutterstock/GaudiLab)

The government will test its planned restriction of illegal cellphones using the devices’ unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers before it implements the new regulation in April.

“[We will test IMEI restrictions] later this February,” communications and information minister Johnny G. Plate said on Tuesday, as quoted by Kompas.com.

In October of last year, the government issued a regulation allowing a national IMEI system to identify illegal cell phones and require operators to block them from networks. Illegal cell phones are commonly sold on the black market both overseas and in Indonesia.

Communications and Information Ministerial Regulation No.11/2019 required cellular network operators to identify their users’ devices’ IMEIs and report the data to the government’s National IMEI Management System.

The national system will separate illegal devices and put them on a “blacklist”, where cellular operators will restrict cellular connection. Users can also ask that their lost or stolen devices be put on the blacklist. The phones can be whitelisted in the national system if found.

The system will also give a “notify list” to cellular operators. They will have to notify users with devices on the list that they must register their devices’ IMEI number in the national system. 

The restriction, however, will be limited to Indonesia as the devices can still connect to foreign cellular networks through roaming services. They will also be able to connect to Wi-Fi networks.

Cellular operators will also use the equipment identity register (EIR) to verify the legality of devices in the government database.

The regulation was established by the Communications and Information Ministry, the Trade Ministry and the Industry Ministry. It was initially set to be issued in August of last year to coincide with the national independence day celebration, before being delayed to October. (mfp)