Image Source: Gadgetbyte Nepal
Mobile Device Management System is bound to be implemented in Nepal from 1st Shrawan 2078. As announced by the finance minister of Nepal, Bishnu Prasad Poudel on the budget announcement for the fiscal year 2078/79, this system will help control the number of illegal imports of mobile devices in Nepal and will put a stop to the grey market. How effective this system will be is yet to be seen. But, here are a few things we know about this system.
Mobile Device Management System (MDMS) is basically, a database of all the operational mobile phone devices that run on a Nepali carrier service. The devices are recorded via their unique IMEI numbers and the devices whose IMEI number isn’t registered in the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) database will be barred from cellular service. And, as only phones imported by official distributors will be included in this database, this is a big blow to the grey importers in Nepal.
As the pricing of mobile phones has been increasing year by year, grey imports in Nepal also have surged. Moreover, the fact that phones released in Nepal are often overpriced and also the late and limited availability of mobile phones has made buying phones from the grey market seem beneficial for an average consumer. It has also been a common practice for us, Nepali people, to ask our relatives who are visiting abroad to bring an iPhone when coming back. These devices are often brought into the nation without paying taxes, customs, and the government mandates’ excise duty. As devices brought in this manner are comparatively cheaper, more and more consumers are lured to these devices and the grey market has flourished in recent years.
But, because of the flourishing grey market, the Nepal Government is estimated to lose about 7 Billion Rupees in tax money every month. An estimated 25% of all the phones imported in Nepal are illegal and about 50% of all people that arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport from abroad are said to bring a phone in with them.
After the implementation of MDMS, all the illegally imported phones from that day on will be barred from cellular service. The phones bought before the implementation, however, are safe and will continue to function. If you want to check if your phone is registered in NTA’s database, you can visit this website. And if your device isn’t listed in the database, you can register your device from this link. (That is if the website ever works.)
Mobile Device Management System is a great addition to the ‘Modern’ Governance our Nation is striving towards and it will benefit the nation and its residents a lot. But, this also limits the choices that are present for the consumer. Furthermore, because of the highly marked-up prices, the average Nepali citizen will be forced to pay significantly more than what the phone costs in the international market. This system also helps promote monopolistic practices as only the distributor can import products from the manufacturer. To battle this, Nepal Government must consider placing some frameworks in the equation and considering the corrupt nature of the government itself, it begs the question: Was the intention to implement MDMS really for the benefit of the citizens?
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