NTA overcomes challenges and import delays to implement MDMS, targeting illegal mobile phone imports

KATHMANDU: In a significant development, the long-awaited Mobile Device Management System (MDMS) is set to be fully operational in Nepal from Monday, marking the end of a five-year struggle for its implementation. The Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) confirmed that all necessary equipment for MDMS has been successfully imported and connected, paving the way for the system’s launch on January 1.

The MDMS project, originally planned five years ago to combat the influx of illegal mobile phones in Nepal, faced numerous challenges and delays.

Delays were exacerbated by factors such as the Covid-19 pandemic and difficulties in importing essential equipment from abroad. Despite earlier claims of implementation by the NTA, the system was plagued by setbacks, with the last attempted launch halted shortly after blocking over 10,000 unregistered phones for four days.

The NTA had previously announced MDMS implementations on several occasions, only to face obstacles that prevented the full functionality of the system. Despite these setbacks, the NTA continued its efforts, and now, with the successful import and installation of hardware and software devices, the MDMS is on track for full implementation.

The MDMS is viewed as a crucial tool in controlling illegal and stolen mobile phones, with estimates suggesting that 70 percent of mobile phones entering Nepal are sourced from the illegal market.

The system’s implementation is expected to bring an end to the grey market, making mobiles without customs clearance non-functional and blocking phones not registered in the government registry.

Deepak Malhotra, owner of IMS Group, expressed optimism, stating, “With the full implementation of MDMS, the grey market will come to an end. Mobiles brought from abroad without customs clearance will be non-functional, and phones not registered in the government registry will no longer operate in Nepal.”

Despite previous delays, the NTA is now focused on registering mobile sets imported into Nepal through the MDMS system, which is housed in a newly constructed administrative building in Chabahil.

The MDMS, soft-launched in September last year, was initially expected to be fully operational by mid-May, but Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s instructions led to a delay in its implementation.

With the MDMS finally set to go live, Nepal anticipates a more robust control over its mobile device ecosystem, ensuring the legitimacy of imports and thwarting the illegal market.

Fiscal Nepal |
Monday January 1, 2024, 10:39:20 AM |

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