IMEI blocking in line with the law - UKE

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IMEI blocking in line with the law

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Mobile operators comply with the obligation to block IMEI numbers of stolen handsets.

The results of an inspection carried out by the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation (from 6 to 28 January 2005) prove that the operators: Polkomtel S.A., Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa Sp. z o.o. and PTK Centertel Sp. z o.o. have implemented relevant procedures and, according to the Telecommunications law, block IMEI numbers (International Mobile Equipment Identity) of stolen handsets.

The law imposes the following obligations on mobile operators:

  • to prevent the use of stolen mobile handsets in their network;
  • to transfer information identifying stolen handsets to other mobile operators in order to enable their blocking.

In order to fulfil new obligations, the three mobile operators signed an agreement specifying conditions for cooperation between operators with respect to the exchange of information enabling the identification of stolen telecommunications terminal equipment as early as on 16 December 2004. The agreement introduced uniform principles of handling requests for blocking/unblocking an IMEI number, form of “Request for blocking/unblocking terminal equipment” as well as a specimen “Certificate of reporting/withdrawal of a report to the police on the theft of terminal equipment”.

During the inspection URTiP found that operators handled requests for blocking a stolen mobile phone received only from their own clients. All subscribers and registered pre-paid users can block a stolen phone. A handset may be also blocked by a plenipotentiary.

On submitting a request for blocking a mobile handset the following documents are required:

  • a certificate of reporting the theft to the police,
  • a document confirming one’s property right with regard to a blocked mobile handset (together with an IMEI number), such as: a VAT invoice, a receipt, a guarantee card, an agreement for the provision of telecommunications services or an annex to this agreement, a sales contract or a contract of donation together with an original proof of ownership (an invoice, a receipt),
  • a document confirming the applicant’s identity,
  • an authorisation in the case when a request is submitted by a person authorised by a subscriber (a registered user).

A handset is blocked:

  • in Polkomtel’s network: within one day, also at weekends, of receiving a request by an employee who verifies its correctness;
  • in PTC’s network: on the same day or between 9-10 a.m. the following morning if a request was submitted late in the afternoon;
  • in PTK Centertel’s network: within one hour of receiving a fax by the Customer Service after a verification by an employee handling requests.

The information on blocked IMEI numbers is then transferred electronically to the remaining operators in the form of specially formatted and coded files once or twice a day (in the morning and in the afternoon) on working days. Operators are planning to make this process automatic, which should enable the transfer of information without any limits on frequency also at weekends.

Although the provisions of Telecommunications law mention only the blocking of stolen handsets, operators under the above agreement offer a complementary service of unblocking previously blocked handsets, applying the same procedure as in the case of blocking IMEI numbers.

The information obtained by URTiP inspection officers shows that from 1 to 20 January 2005, operators handled and blocked 1693 mobile handsets in total, including:

  • Polkomtel – handled and blocked 253 handsets,
  • PTC - 573 handsets,
  • PTK Centertel - 867 handsets.
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    The President of the Office of Electronic Communications (President of UKE) is the national regulatory authority for the market of telecommunications and postal services. The President of UKE is also the specialised authority in the area of equipment conformity assessment, including telecommunications terminal equipment and radio equipment.

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