Its now mandatory for everyone to get their new phones registered with PTA.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, or PTA, recommends that individuals should only buy new phones and SIM devices that are already registered in order to avoid unnecessary hassle. Alas, there are situations in which you fall into where you have an unregistered SIM device and hence need to register with PTA.
Register New SIM Device
There are several devices that need a SIM card. Yes, it is not just a phone that needs a SIM but there are tablet devices with LTE connection, TVs, Smartwatches, USB Dongles, WiFi Routers, GPS Trackers and more.
So what PTA has done is nothing out of ordinary, back in 2016 we received a tablet from Google Inc. and PakPost had to forward it to PTA in Islamabad to get it approved. We however were exempted nonetheless of this procedure because the LTE device was a gift, and back in 2016 getting devices with SIM slots were not mandatory.
The mobile registration process flows under the Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System. This framework is utilized by PTA in order to ensure that all SIM devices and phones are registered and there is no migration of illegal cellphones from foreign countries into Pakistan.
DIRBS system makes use of the IMEI number which is a unique identification number attributed to each SIM device and cellphone. If the SIM device cellphone is not registered, PTA has the authority to block the IMEI number after which the device is unable to retrieve any cellular coverage.
Register with PTA
To facilitate consumers PTA has set up its user-friendly website portal where you can register your device at DIRBS or you can simply download their mobile application. Those who are travelling from abroad can immediately sign up your device at the arrival lounge where PTA has installed kiosks to help you with the process.
You will be asked to provide the customs representative with three things;
- IMEI of your device
- Model and make of your device
- CNIC/NICOP or Passport on which you have travelled
When Do You Need a Certificate of Compliance?
If you are a foreign roamer using a foreign SIM, you are not required to seek any compliance from PTA. However, if you wish to use a local SIM, you will be allowed up to 60 days before being notified that your device needs to be registered with PTA. If you want to use a local SIM for more than 60 days then you will need to get the certificate of compliance (COC). The charges for a COC keeping increasing.
Process of Registration
PTA has provided a thorough framework through which customers can get their cellphones registered and each of the service providers have put up instructions on their respective websites as well. Before that, you need to ensure that you have your CNIC or either your passport, your mobile number for SMS communication and your handset details (IMEI, Model No). The IMEI number can be checked by dialling *#06# on your handset.
Step 1 – Choose the Sign-up Form
There are two forms, one is for foreigners whereas the other form is for the locals. If you are a Pakistani citizen, choose the category Pakistani/Local/International Travellers/Dual Nationality Holder. If you are a foreign national then select the Foreigner (Travelled on Visa).
If you have received your cellphone from a courier service, you would be required to input the place from where the shipment was sent and to the place where it reached. Furthermore, you are also required to input the commercial invoice alongside the shipment reference number.
Step 2 – Choose Your Purpose and User Type
The first step is to get yourself registered on the DIRBS website where you will be asked the purpose and user type. From the purpose category, you can choose whether you want to register a cellphone or a mobile tablet. Similarly, your purpose could also be a commercial activity such as organizations buying SIMS for testing purposes. If you’re using a phone that you have received as a gift, you are still required to get it registered in order to have cellular coverage on it. If the phone has been used abroad already, the registration is mandatory if it is running a local SIM for the first time.
Once you have defined the purpose, you can move towards being the user type. If you have a phone that you might want to gift someone and you have bought it from abroad, then you can choose the traveller on visa option. If you are in Pakistan, then you should go ahead with the local option.
Step 3 – Register New SIM Device
Once you are done setting up your account, you need to start registering your device.
- Enter your SIM device IMEI number
- Enter your user type again. Here you can state whether you are registering your first device that you have brought from another country, or it is a phone that you have received from a courier service, or you are signing up to pay your mobile’s duty tax if it was not registered before.
- Enter your contact number that can receive SMS.
- Use the 4-digits code in PTA DIRBS to receive PSID.
- Select the number of SIM slot your device has.
- After receiving the SMS with PSID, tax amount, COC ID with validity info, log into your mobile banking website.
- Select Add Bill and choose FBR.
- Enter the PSID in biller and go through the process of paying your tax amount to DIRBS.
- Match the PSID and tax amount from PTA DIRBS and online banking portal.
- Confirm the amount to pay.
- Your wait time will range between 20 to 30 minutes before you receive another SMS or Email confirming the device approval.
Rates of Taxes on Mobile Devices
The rates are set according to the cost and freight value of SIM device. In layman terms, the higher the price of your phone, the greater the amount of tax that is levied. You can download the latest rates of taxes on SIM Devices. The following table shows the amount of duty/tax that is applicable on the import of mobile handsets:
|C & F Value of Mobile Phones (in USD)||Fixed Rate in PKR for CNIC|
|Up to 30||550|
|200-350||14661 + 17% Sales Tax Ad Valorem|
|350-500||23420 + 17% Sales Tax Ad Valorem|
|>500||37007 + 17% Sales Tax Ad Valorem|
From the table above, you need to look at the second column that says Fixed Rate in Pakistani Rupees. This is the accumulation of all of the individual taxes that are levied on your cellphone. This way, by looking at your phone’s value in US Dollars, you can identify the amount that you would have to pay for your phone! If you bought the phone off an official sale, you would still have to pay the amount with regards to the phone’s value and not at the price you bought it for.
Tips to Register New SIM Device
PTA DIRBS system is shot. We say this because we know it. But even if it was not so, we would still give you some tips on how to do things more swiftly.
- You need to know as mentioned above that no matter what the price of your SIM device is, the tax you see on PTA Dirbs system is final. Keep this bit of info in mind when you are looking up your device on Dirbs system. Do not believe what everyone is telling you. See it for yourself.
- We suggest everyone make their profile on PTA Dirbs and add the IMEI of SIM device to see what the cost of it is shown. This is a good practice to analyse what the tax amount is going to be. If you have no intention of registering a certain SIM device, just remove the IMEI profile so there is no further process to it. Removing a device from PTA DIRBS is easy, go back into dashboard > My Application. Find your IMEI device to remove and click on remove/delete.
- PTA DIRBS gives the option to pay via bank branch National Bank or IBFT (online banking). Always pick online banking. Why? Well, with online banking the process and registration is simpler and quicker by 15 days. The registration goes through within 30 minutes when you pay the FBR tax via online banking, and takes 15 working days (or bank day) for process to go through via bank branch/National Bank.
Please keep in mind the govt of Pakistan keeps changing the applied tax, so there is a chance you will see a different price when registering your SIM slots.