EghtesadOnline: The Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration incurred losses worth $625 million in the last Iranian year (March 2016-17) over the smuggling of cellphones into the county, the director general of the Information Technology Office with the Headquarters to Combat Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Exchange said.
“Domestic demand for cellphones in Iran stands at between 10 million and 12 million annually. Only 1 to 1.2 million of these are legally imported. Around 90% of the remaining are smuggled into the country annually,” Hamid Reza Dehqaninia was also quoted as saying in the headquarters’ Telegram channel.
According to the official, the lion’s share of the 15% import duties set on cellphones is lost every year.
In a bid to curb the smuggling of cellphones, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration called for all mobiles to be officially registered last summer, according to Financial Tribune.
The plan requires all cellphones to be registered with the Telecoms Ministry’s user database. Phones not registered with the database were to be considered contraband and thereby given no service.
Noting that the registry scheme has been implemented as of Friday, Dehqaninia said it would help the government recoup the loss of revenue.
Mobile registry schemes work via a mobile phone’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) that is unique to every phone produced.
The IMEI number is used to identify valid devices, and therefore, can be used for stopping a stolen or illegally imported phone from accessing Iran’s communications network.
Therefore, only smartphones and gadgets that have entered the country through the official customs and legal channels can be used.
The registry of IMEI numbers is common in several markets across the world, including the United Kingdom and New Zealand.