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[May 04, 2014]
Phone merchants slam decision to freeze IMEI registration [Daily Star, The (Lebanon)]
(Daily Star, The (Lebanon) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) BEIRUT: A gathering of importers and traders of mobile phones slammed Saturday a decision by the Telecommunications Ministry to cancel starting May 5 a requirement to register the IMEI codes of devices to allow them to access the Lebanese network.
The gathering argued in a statement that the action would increase smuggling of mobile phones and facilitate terrorism.
Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb told a news conference last month that IMEI registration has so far yielded negative results and cost the Lebanese treasury.
The International Mobile Station Equipment Identity, commonly referred to as IMEI, is used by a GSM network to identify valid devices and therefore can be used to stop a stolen phone from accessing the network.
The statement of the importers and traders explained that IMEI registration was not time consuming and did not affect the sales of mobile phones during 2013, but added that they remained open to discussing future steps with the minister.
Former Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui implemented the IMEI registration in a bid to put an end to the smuggling of cellphones to Lebanon.
Sehnaoui argued at the time that mobile smuggling was causing losses for the treasury in the millions of dollars each year.
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