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The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will soon finalize Equipment Identity Register (EIR) directives for mobile network operators (MNOs) in the country.

After ending the second phase of public consultations, the commission is now working to finalise the EIR directives.

“It will not take much time to finalise them. We hope to finish the EIR directives soon,” said BTRC chairman Md Jahurul Haque. He also said the Equipment Identity Register will protect the customers’ devices and simultaneously prevent misuse of the devices.

“We have received comments till July 18. There are various types of suggestions here and we are now examining these. These will then be placed at the commission’s meeting,” the BTRC chairman said.

Earlier, the BTRC sought public views on draft directives on the EIR for MNOs in Bangladesh.

”If a device is lost or stolen, the subscriber will have to file a general diary (GD) at a local police station and go to the customer care centre of the MNO of the SIM with the copy of the GD and the  National Identity Card (NID) to lodge a complaint and block the stolen device,” said the BTRC.

The EIR is a database containing a list of all valid mobile equipment on the network. An Equipment Identity Register reduces the threats of mobile device thefts by enabling individual operators to prevent the use of stolen phones. A Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) is a database of the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers of blacklisted handsets. If a device’s Emergency Services Network (ESN) or International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is listed on a CEIR, it is not supposed to work on member service providers’ networks (only paying members can access the database).

BTRC chairman Jahirul Haque said: “Individuals importing/carrying mobile devices from abroad for personal use will be required to register the IMEI of the devices in the National Equipment Identity Register (NEIR) through personal/manual/web registration interface provided by the NEIR.”

After the EIR verifies the device information, the request will be forwarded to the NEIR for further action. The NEIR, after necessary verifications, shall shift the IMEI from the previous list (except BL) to lost/stolen list (LSL), thereby blocking access to all MNO networks. If the IMEI is already blacklisted, it will remain there and no further action will be taken, say the draft guidelines.

According to the draft guidelines, subscribers will request access to MNOs who will record the IMEI, mobile station international subscriber directory number (MSISDN), international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) and other attributes in the EIR of their own subscribers. The EIR will check whether the device (IMEI) is a valid device type other than mobile phones by the device ID flag—vehicle trackers, digital utility meters, modems, etc. The EIR will allow it network access.

If the device is detected to be a mobile phone, the EIR will check if the composite number (IMEI) is in the BL and/or Lost/Stolen List (LSL) provided by the NEIR. If the device is in the BL and/or LSL, the EIR will deny it access to the network, the guideline says.

If not, the EIR will check the White List (WL)/Grey List(GL)/Roaming List (RL), and if the composite number (IMEI+MSISDN) exists, the EIR will allow network access.

MNOs shall ensure compatibility in order to be connected with the NEIR including but not limited to connectivity, protocol, API etc. Necessary instructions related to integration will be given by the BTRC from time to time.

As per a draft directive on EIR, mobile phone users will have to register their handsets with the system. Any unregistered handset will not work, thereby significantly curbing illegal activities in the handset market, it added.

According to the draft guidelines, operators will create this database with the IMEI numbers of all mobile handsets as per their licence policy. There will be three categories—black, white and grey—in the database.

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