Indonesia is battling "black market" phone with a new regulation. But, since it will be effective in April 2020, many regulators are complaining still. (Image via UNB)

IMEI regulation ineffective yet, 'black market' phones still run wild in Indonesia

Cellphone retail company, Erajaya, revealed that the number of “black market” phones of various brands smuggled from Batam still looms large due to the ineffective government regulation regarding International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI).

Recently, Bengkalis precinct police in Riau, detained two “black market” phone smugglers who smuggled their stuffs in shipments. The police detained 560 phone units worth of Rp3,362,499,000.

Had they got loose, the smuggled phones would have found its way to Pekanbaru. The smugglers admitted that it was their tenth smuggling operation.

According to the regulation, smuggled phones will not be able to connect into Indonesian telecommunication network.

Director of Marketing and Communications PT Erajaya Swasembada, Djatmiko Wardoyo, urged the Indonesian government to quickly activate the regulations as other countries have. Because, while other countries reject “black market” phone, Indonesia receives it instead.

Djatmiko said that the Joint Ministerial Decree (SKB) for the regulation regarding IMEI had been signed actually by the Minister of Communication and Informatics, Minister of Trade, and Minister of Industry on 18 October 2019.

However, the regulation will run into effect in April 2020 because the system is not operational yet. In other words, the “black market” phones will still be able to run free until that time.

Indonesia has been a lucrative market for “black market” phone. With population of around 270 million, these phones run free without paying taxes.

Therefore, the regulation is important to help Indonesian customs fight the illegal phones. Without it, Indonesian customs have to guard airports and seaports. Not to mention, smaller ports are also used frequently to smuggle the phones.