Eight million mobile phones smuggled into SL

TRC promises tough action

by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) will introduce a new system to block illegally imported mobile phones.

TRC Director General Anusha Palpita yesterday (16) told The Island that all imported mobile phones should be registered with the TRC and they were required to meet certain safety regulations. "The Commission will give a certain time period for registration. Those who fail to follow the TRC’s rules will face permanent disabling of their phones by blocking the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers from the networks as the TRC possessed all the IMEI numbers of phones imported into the country."

He explained that the TRC’s aim was not to disrupt the mobile phone business but to regulate it to maintain high standards and protect customers. 

Pelpita stressed that an estimated eight million of the 15 million phones currently used in the country had been illegally imported thereby depriving the State of taxes. The genuine mobile phone importers had to pay around 15 percent tax on each phone.

According to Pelpita many traders avoid purchasing the TRC’s annual permit of Rs 10,000 to sell mobile phones.

He said that in future consumers of mobile phones would be able to verify, by using an SMS facility, if the equipment they purchased had been duly registered or not. 

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