Google Pixel, Blackberry and Motorola phones illegally imported into Iran since December are to be disconnected from the country’s mobile networks, Iran’s Communication Regulatory Authority (CRA) has stated, the Financial Tribune reported on January 31.
The move is part of a drive to completely halt the import of smuggled phones, locally known as “suitcase imports” conducted by people travelling to regional countries.
The three brands were selected as part of a second round of disconnections to be performed by telecoms authorities. The brands have no official representation in Iran. As part of a new mobile registry programme, they are being targeted due to the low sales of their phon models.
Director of the Tehran Telecoms Union, Mehdi Mohebi, who is backing the move, said: “All newly activated Google, BlackBerry and Motorola phones have been screened since December 5, with smuggled handsets going offline next week.”
December last year saw some 25,000 smuggled Apple iPhones disconnected from Iran’s three mobile networks, the union official added. However, reports from traders suggested that older iPhones 5s had somehow slipped under the radar.
Iran is also set to charge nationals returning to the country with phones purchased abroad with an 18% levy at airports. The phones must also be registered with customs and the CRA.
The third phase of the mobile blocking scheme will target more popular brands, namely LG, Samsung and Huawei. Together, they account for more than 80% of local mobile device sales.
The plan is to fully implement the scheme by the next Persian calendar year, which starts on March 21.
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