In this post, you will learn everything about MDMS in Nepal and the process to register your phone’s IMEI to avoid blacklisting by NTA. If you are in confusion regarding the status of your phone’s verification or want to learn its benefits to you as a user, then you are at the right place.
Mobile Device Management System (MDMS) is set to strike hard on grey phones in Nepal post-Shrawan 1. That means IMEI registration is becoming mandatory from the next Fiscal Year 078/79. As for phones whose IMEI is not registered, NTA will blacklist them and pull telecom services no matter whichever telecom network they are on in Nepal.
This plan was revealed by the Hon. Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Poudel in his last budget speech on May 30. MDMS, a security software system will come into effect from Shrawan 1 as a measure to minimize the circulation of grey phones and add a major leap of extra security features to phone users and help the government collect revenues.
There are two types of phones being distributed in Nepal. The phones that enter via the white channel, the officially brought phones, and the illegitimate grey channel, hence grey phones. Devices that arrive in Nepal with their IMEI number pre-registered at Nepal Telecommunications Authority will have no issue with the impending security system. However, Governments agencies will blacklist grey phones which have evaded official registration. While there is no exact data, Nepal mobile Distributors Association estimates that around 25% of grey phones are in use in Nepal and that is a considerably high number.
What is MDMS?
MDMS stands for Mobile Device Management System. It is a security software system that helps authorities monitor, manage, and trace every registered phone in the country whichever telecom network they are on. The system will allow authorities to control and distribute stringent security policies to all mobile devices and ensure they are all safe and secure. Besides, the security software will verify devices’ authenticity and even lock them out of telecom services over the air if found illegitimate.
Most of the grey phones in Nepal enter via open borders in the South. Such phones evade customs and get cheaper to Nepali consumers. Meanwhile, Nepalese abroad bring phones in gifts for their family and friends in Nepal. These phones enter Nepal without registration. Although the government was to implement MDMS since Jestha, COVID-19 had forced its delay. Anyway, there is an added seriousness and hard work put into it by the government this time around.
Benefits Of MDMS
MDMS is all-encompassing software that will upgrade Nepali’s smartphone regulation up a notch. Bringing smartphones within this system will have benefits to all parties. The government will collect revenues on all the phones entering Nepal. NTA will have details of all the phones operating on all mobile networks. The users meanwhile, will also have several advantages.
NTA Asst. Spokesman Achyutananda Mishra has said MDMS will significantly discourage mobile phone thefts. Presently, if an unregistered phone is stolen or lost, NTA cannot help owners retrieve them because of the lack of IMEI in its directory. But the mandatory phone registration means any missing phones can be tracked for their locations. This will keep everybody alert in ‘cases’. Therefore MDMS is not only beneficial to the government but also to the users too.
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Why Nepalese Buy Grey Phones?
Simply put, grey phones come cheap and it has to do with the government’s tax scheme. Nepal Government charges 13% VAT and another 2.5% excise on mobile imports. Adding further, it has slashed VAT return to 0%. That is why unauthorized phones come cheap for the retailers and the consumers both.
Mostly, in border areas with India, retailers or third-party sellers sneak across with smartphones skipping the customs. When they reach Nepali stores, the retailers can offer them at lower prices compared to official phones with heavy taxes on them. If consumers find phones with similar features at diverging price ranges, they are likely to choose the cheaper ones. Then there are those phones Nepali abroad bring to Nepal via flights. Those phones also escape registrations and freely operate on the Nepali network unregulated.
And this raises the question about the fate of those phones which are already in operation. Regarding this, NTA’s Asst. Spokesman Achutananda Mishara has spoken in detail.
NTA Won’t Disrupt Services On Existing Grey Phones
The announcement of MDMS has unsettled mobile phones users who carry a phone that is still unregistered. They are worried that NTA will strip their telecom services off their phones beginning from Shrawan 1. But, the telecom authority will take a softer approach to the current owners of such handsets.
Mishra has confirmed that existing users of unregistered phones will continuously receive telecom services on their phones. But he suggested they should register their phones soonest and legitimize them. This will help government expedite the MDMS implementation and safeguard the mobile ecosystem sooner. He added that the intention of launching MDMS in Nepal is to bar illegally entering phones from the upcoming Fiscal Year 078/79 that begins from Shrawan 1.A Holistic Plan For Smartphone eco-system In Nepal.
The objective of MDMS goes beyond merely airbrushing the so-called grey phones. The proposed plan is the Nepali government’s broader initiative to manage, monitor, and regulate mobile phones in Nepal. This will not only lessen the marginalized unregistered phones but will save government revenues, help in anti-theft activities. Customarily, phone exporters receive their Type Approval Certificate from NTA for a particular brand and model of the device. This follows the registration of their IMEI by the NTA before they enter Nepal. But the grey phones do not follow these protocols. Retailers sneak around and import a large number of phones from India and sell them to Nepali customers.
Mishra has also added that NTA will headstart an independent department to run MDMS more effectively. He also added that NTA will maintain a network of phone makers, telecom operators, law enforcement agencies, and customs officials to constraint the mobility of unauthorized phones in Nepal.
After a Nepali SIM is inserted on a phone of any telecom network, MDMS begins authenticating the phone in its servers. Out of the millions of phones’ detail, it will look for the particular phone’s IMEI. If it fails to track the IMEI, it can blacklist the phone, and terminate all the telecom services on it. There could follow some legal ramifications of the user’s end too for using an unauthorized device.
How To Register Your Phone’s IMEI in NTA’s MDMS?
As a state, currently, unregistered phones should not worry about NTA blacklisting their devices. But it is also a must that they should register their phones. First, confirm whether your device is already registered at NTA by going to this link.
- Now, click on Know Your Device.
- There enter your device’s IMEI and Submit.
- If your device is already registered at NTA, you will see the following screen.
If IMEI is not registered, then go to this link and follow the below steps.
- On your first screen, click on Sign Up as you saw above.
- Now you will see two options; New Importer and Individual Application. Click on the latter.
- This brings up a form where you will require to input our phone’s Brand Name, Model Number, and IMEI number. You will also require to upload an official document to authenticate your id. Citizenship or a passport would do, After you fill up all the detail including the document.
- If your phone has two SIM card, input SIM 1 and then SIM 2 separated by ; as instructed. Confirm your detail and Submit the form.
NTA will now put your application through verification and once it is approved, you will receive a notification on your email/ SIM card which might take from a few days to a fortnight.
NTA’s Statement Over Portal Issues
NTA has issued a statement acknowledging that its portal for IMEI/MEID is not working. The telco authority has reasoned it down to a massive surge in the number of people trying to gain access to it.
With Shrawan 1 closing in, more people have tried to log in to the portal and register their phones’ IMEI. Moreover, there are others who want to verify their phone’s IMEI status. Due to this, the portal’s traffic is congested and shows the following screen.
The statement read that NTA is putting all effort to restore the system back and expects it to come online soon. Regarding existing grey phones, it said the owners will get more time to register IMEI when the portal is back.
Since the last few days, many have voiced their displeasure at NTA’s portal not working. Fearing that their devices may get a blacklist, owners of unregistered handsets are trying to gain access and verify their devices soonest as possible. However, NTA has confirmed that they need not worry about the timeframe that will relieve them for now. let’s hope the portal is back soon for the benefit of everyone.
MDMS will begin from Shrawan 1 and will take a few weeks before the security software operates full-fledged. If your current phone is not registered then you should quickly proceed to NTA’s portal. As for future phones coming without pre-registration, MDMS will blacklist them and block all telecom services on al Nepali networks.
If you have any queries regarding MDMS and the steps to IMEI verification, we will be glad to clear all your confusion about it. Kindly let us know in the comments below.