Cape Town, South Africa (PRWEB) April 13, 2016
The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has launched the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR), the SGS-Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS) and Global Voice Group (GVG) solution for mobile device theft and counterfeiting in the United Republic of Tanzania. CEIR is the latest component of the Telecommunication Traffic Monitoring System (TTMS) also implemented in the country by the SGS-GVG Consortium in 2014. Its main purpose is to stop counterfeited or stolen phones from accessing the telecommunications networks.
The Deputy Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, January Makamba, was asked in parliament what measures the government was planning to take to control of mobile phone theft and related criminal activities in the country like counterfeiting and cloning. These are rife in Tanzania and the TCRA has indicated that more than 2000 handsets are reported stolen every year. The increase in this kind of crime is due to an exponential rise in the use of mobile technology in Tanzania. Counterfeiting is also a widespread problem—40% of the mobile phones used in the country are counterfeits. Dr Ally Simba, Director General of the TCRA, has cautioned Tanzanian citizens against the purchasing of counterfeited mobile phones, these often bear the designs and trademarks of genuine products and are difficult to identify.
CEIR is a nationwide database containing the IMEIs of all the phones in use in the country. Together with the Automatic Device Detection (ADD) solution, installed concurrently, CEIR organises the IMEIs into black, white or grey lists, depending on whether they have been found to belong to stolen, counterfeit or legitimate devices. The system is thus able to prevent the devices with blacklisted IMEIs from accessing the local telecom networks. Deputy Minister Makamba has explained that this will help control mobile device theft in the country as thieves will not be able to use the stolen handsets. Through its capacity to detect counterfeit or cloned handsets, CEIR will help reduce the sale and use of products like these.
Now that CEIR is active, Tanzanian mobile subscribers are required to verify the legitimacy of their cell phones and related devices. The process is simple and can be carried out by SMS. If a device is illegitimate, an SMS will be sent to the owner to alert him/her to the situation. He/she then has until 16 June 2016 to replace the offending device with a genuine model. By that date, all fake cell phones will be blacklisted and will not be able to access the local networks anymore.
Tanzanian mobile operators have welcomed the TCRA’s plan to crack down on counterfeit devices, as it will greatly enhance the experience of their subscribers. Fake handsets cannot perform all the sophisticated functions their genuine counterparts offer so by deactivating the illegitimate devices in use in the country, the TCRA is actively promoting the purchase of genuine and fully functional devices, as well as ensuring the subscribers get good value for their money.
Before the acquisition of CEIR, the TCRA had already positioned itself as one of the most progressive regulatory authorities in Africa by implementing TTMS, also through the SGS-GVG consortium. Since its commissioning October 2014, TTMS has helped boost the revenue of both the government and the licensed operators and has allowed for the dismantling of a number of fraudulent networks. The recent launch of CEIR, now confirms the TCRA’s position as a visionary authority in East Africa. It is reducing mobile device-related crime and thus boosting security in the country. The TCRA’s Acting Corporate Communication Manager, Semu Mwakyanjala, says he believes the Authority’s example will eventually be followed by all the other East African states, including Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. The group is recognised as a global benchmark of quality and integrity. SGS employs more than 70 000 people and operates a network of more than 1350 offices and laboratories around the world.
Global Voice Group (GVG) stands out as one of the world’s leading experts in ICT solutions for governments in emerging countries. Since 1998, the group has pioneered innovative and proven ICT solutions to assist governments to improve their governance and financial performance. GVG strongly commits to the technological and socio-economic empowerment of emerging countries, through technology transfer and innovative financing for development. The group has developed a unique approach to improve fiscal and regulatory compliance dramatically in key sectors of the economy, inter alia, telecommunications and retail markets. A member of the International Telecommunication Union, GVG has been awarded the Frost & Sullivan Best Practice Award for its outstanding innovation in telecoms management technologies.