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Jakarta Post

Govt tests IMEI-based block on black market cellphones 

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, February 17, 2020   /   07:30 pm
Govt tests IMEI-based block on black market cellphones  A woman uses her phone. (Shutterstock/Asada Nami)

The Communications and Information Ministry is set to test its planned restrictions on illegal cellphones using the devices’ unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers before it implements the new restrictions fully in April.

The ministry's director for standardization of informatics and postal devices, Mochamad Hadiyana, said the government would start the trial restrictions on Monday.

“God willing, we will do [the test] today,” he said on Monday as quoted by

The trial was initially planned for Feb. 13 to 14, but was delayed because of a debate over the test’s implementation and success indicators.

Separately, cellular operator XL Axiata spokesperson Henry Wijayanto confirmed that the provider would work with the ministry to conduct the IMEI restriction test on Monday.

The ministry’s service quality and standards harmonization sub-directorate head, Nur Akbar Said, said five cellular operators would take part in the test.

The test will be conducted using an equipment identity register (EIR) machine, which is used to detect an illegal phone’s IMEI number. Nur added that the test would be conducted on dummy phones and would not disrupt phones that had already been connected to cellular services

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 requires 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 connections. 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. (mpr)