Telecom regulator implements mobile device management to check grey marketAll foreigners entering Nepal are required to register their mobile phone sets, if they stay in Nepal for more than 15 days.
All foreigners entering Nepal are required to register their mobile phone sets, if they stay in Nepal for more than 15 days, according to a new rule.
Nepal Telecommunications Authority, the telecom regulator, which is implementing the Mobile Device Management System (MDMS) from Monday, said foreigners are required to register their mobile sets after a 15-day stay and it would remain valid until their visa expiry date.
On May 9, a Cabinet meeting decided to implement the MDMS, after a brief halt, to control the grey market of mobile phones.
Achyuta Nand Mishra, deputy director of the Nepal Telecommunications Authority, said the foreigners should register their mobile phone sets by providing a document copy related to the validity of their visa.
They can register their mobile phone, online, by visiting the website https://www.nta.gov.np/.
“No fees will be charged,” said Mishra.
The telecom regulatory authority moved to develop the system five years ago after issuing MDMS Bylaws 2018.
The authority had originally planned to roll out the system in mid-July 2021, but it was put off due to the ever-lengthening lockdown as the shipments of equipment required to establish a data centre were delayed, the authority said.
The new date was fixed effective December 30 last year after a soft launch in August the same year.
However, the system came to a halt after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ordered not to implement the system immediately.
It was following a public criticism as the policy then barred a Nepali citizen from bringing home more than two mobile sets from abroad.
The Nepali migrant workers abroad launched a ‘no remittance’ campaign on social media, stating that they will stop sending remittances to Nepal.
Prime Minister Dahal, immediately, instructed the then Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel not to implement the decision.
Last week, on Wednesday, amending the Baggage Rules, 2016, the government allowed migrant workers to bring in a new mobile set, in addition to their phone.
“The migrant workers have to present a legal work permit for at least six months to be eligible to bring in the new mobile phone set,” said Mishra. Migrant workers are exempt from paying 18 percent of tax on mobile sets.
According to the authority, 27,000 individuals, so far, have registered their phones with the MDMS, which includes registration of the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, a unique 15-digit code that precisely identifies the device with the SIM card input.
The authority said around 4 million mobile sets are yet to be registered with their IMEI numbers.
The importing company or dealers initially register the IMEI number of officially imported mobile phones.
The government has been imposing an 18 percent tax on smartphones and a 15.5 percent tax on bar phones.
Publishing a notice on Sunday, the authority said mobile phones imported from abroad for personal use are automatically registered in the MDMS following custom clearance.
According to Baggage Rule, any individual bringing their phone for personal use can register their mobile phone in the system by submitting the document of passport with departure and arrival stamps or boarding pass or citizenship certificate number.
The authority has informed that customers while buying phones within the country should check whether their phones have been registered in the MDMS.
The authority also asked the importer, dealers and retailers to take approvals from the authority before importing phones.
The mobile importers and distributors said that the soft launch of MDMS in August helped to control the grey market of mobile phones, by up to 50 percent.
The strict measure will completely stop the grey market, they said.
According to the authority, MDMS is a security software that enables the regulator to implement policies that secure, monitor and manage end-user mobile devices.
It will basically eliminate mobile imports from the grey market and phones sold without a bill and warranty. The authority said the system tracks only the device information and not other matters.
The system built by the telecom regulator involves establishment of a data centre where the personal records of mobile phone owners registered on the network of Nepal's two telecom operators will be stored.
Nepal imported smartphones worth Rs28.26 billion in the last fiscal year, according to the Department of Customs.