November 20, 2011
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has launched a new campaign to raise awareness and discourage the use of fake mobile phones in the UAE. The announcement came during a press conference held at the TRA’s offices in Abu Dhabi in the presence of TRA Director General H.E. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, Acting CEO of Etisalat Mr. Nasser Bin Obood, and CEO of du Dr. Osman Sultan. Both Etisalat and du support the campaign.
TRA Director General H.E. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim said: “Our ultimate goal is to eliminate fake mobile devices in the UAE and educate the general public as well as retailers on the risks involved with their use. I want to thank both Etisalat and du for their support of this campaign.”
The UAE’s telecoms laws prohibit the use, sale, purchasing, distribution, and promotion of fake mobile devices and the TRA is taking all the necessary steps to ensure there is a complete stop to the sale and usage of such devices in the UAE. Those involved in the sale of fake mobile phones will be given a notice and a fine, while in some cases licenses could be withheld as a consequence of regulations not being met.
“Issues of counterfeiting and piracy have a tremendous impact on the economy and intellectual property rights, but fake mobile phones are also low quality devices that have been manufactured without the proper tests and checks. In addition to performance issues, the use of such devices could have a significant impact on personal health and safety,” he added.
According to the TRA, fake phones are especially prone to battery leaks or explosions, releasing highly corrosive or poisonous chemicals. The low quality assembly also means radiation levels go unchecked, the batteries tend to drain faster, and signal reception is usually much weaker.
Acting CEO Mr. Nasser Bin Obood Etisalat said “On our part, Etisalat will provide all the necessary information to enable effected users in detecting if their mobile devices are counterfeit and for them to replace it where required. For validation, Etisalat’s customers can send the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) of their mobile phones to a specially created short code ‘8877’. Moreover, Etisalat’s customers using a counterfeit device with a fake IMEI number will receive an SMS message notifying them of the same. They will be requested to replace it with a genuine handset before the cut-off date.”
CEO du Mr. Osman Sultan “In national interest of those of our customers, we fully support the TRA directive to identity all fake IMEIs of our customers’ mobile handsets. We believe this will go a long way to protect the UAE’s consumers from pitfalls of using sub-standard and fake mobile handsets in the UAE”
Users of fake devices will be immediately contacted by their service providers and all phones that are not type approved will be disconnected from all telecom services, including calls, texts and internet.