A Tool to Combat the Use of Illegal Devices to Appear in the Republic of Uzbekistan

08 October 2019

The introduction of a unified mobile device identification register by Svyazcom in the Republic of Uzbekistan will contribute to the fight against illegal import and circulation of counterfeit mobile equipment in the country.

Today, most countries do not have a centralized mechanism to combat the circulation of unauthorized equipment. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Uzbekistan, loss from telephone thefts equals $20 million every year. Besides, the shortfall in VAT on imports is more than $60 million a year.

Even though each mobile operator individually may prevent the use of stolen and counterfeit devices using the EIR (Equipment Identity Register) in its network, there are still some risks. First of all, such risk is of great importance to the operator itself, since an outflow of subscribers to other networks where such work is not carried out is entirely possible.

Aiming to solve this problem, the Ministry of Development of Information Technologies and Communications of the Republic of Uzbekistan is currently introducing a system to register mobile devices using international unique IMEI identification codes.

The State Unitary Enterprise Republican Telecommunications Management Center of Uzbekistan Networks has been identified as the operator of the mobile devices accounting and registration system in the Republic of Uzbekistan. Based on this enterprise, a system of accounting and registration of mobile devices will be installed. The CEIR (Central Equipment Identity Register) by Svyazcom was chosen as a technological solution.

The developed information system is designed to perform the following tasks:

  • Raising the level of prevention and uncovering crimes related to thefts or unauthorized use of telephones.
  • Restriction of the illegal import of mobile devices into the Republic of Uzbekistan.
  • Increasing the collection of taxes and other payments, including customs duties due to grown sales of lawfully imported and legally implemented devices.
  • Provision of consumers of mobile devices with the opportunity to verify their status at the time of buying to ensure the quality of purchased goods and after-sales service.

This kind of software is unique for Uzbekistan. The primary advantage of the CEIR is its integration with all mobile operators in the country. The CEIR modules are integrated into the communication networks of every mobile operator. Due to this, the CEIR will provide an opportunity to monitor the work of mobile devices in the networks of telecom operators online. The information transfer time to all EIR operators does not exceed five minutes.

The CEIR uses IMEI codes on each mobile phone. Assigning a unique IMEI number is the responsibility of a manufacturer, regulated by GSM Association documents. IMEI codes are consolidated into a database, which consists of "black" (prohibitory), "gray," "linked white" and "white" lists. Mobile devices are grouped into lists according to their degree of legality and registration accuracy.

The GSM Association brings together more than 800 mobile operators and device manufacturers around the globe. The CEIR system also exchanges blacklisted devices with GSMA. The "blacklist" contains the data of those contraptions whose identification codes have been lost, stolen, cloned, copied to other devices, or, for any other reason, have not been recorded in the system for a specified period. As a result, a phone from the "blacklist" will not be registered in the cellular networks of Uzbekistan.

A device can be registered directly through post offices, the Unified portal of interactive public services, using SMS / USSD, as well as through the site of the system operator. After submitting an application and successful registration, the device will receive a notification within three hours about successful registration through the method selected by the subscriber. For importing companies and manufacturers, the time limit for considering questionnaires and registering devices is up to three business days.

The implementation of the system should consider the interests of all parties to the project: government bodies (legislative authorities, customs, law enforcement agencies, government Internet portals), mobile operators, manufacturers of mobile devices, retail of mobile devices, and above all, subscribers that the CEIR system is designed to protect.

Specialists of the Svyazcom сompany  are successfully coping with not only technical problems but also organizational ones, which inevitably arise with so many project participants.

The CEIR implementation is actively underway across the country. The launch of the unified mobile device identification register is expected on November 1, 2019.