Sri Lanka Bans Lending Mobile Phones to Friends
Published on: 19th Jul 2008
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
Sri Lanka's government is planning to introduce new legislation which would require mobile phone users to carry a certificate of ownership at all times when carrying their phone around. The new law, which is claimed to be aimed at cutting down on terrorist activity would also forbid lending the phone to other people.
The proposals come from the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRC), which is also requiring proof of identity to be provided when a phone is purchased in future.
The regulator said that it has taken this step "to avert irregularities and illegal activities while minimizing threats to national security created by the irresponsible use of telephones,"
TRC Director General, Priyantha Kariyapperuma said that existing subscribers would be told about the new guidelines with their next monthly bill and the system would be effective the following month. The Mobile World estimates that there were some 8.5 million GSM subscribers in the country at the end of Q1 '08.
New regulations will also affect fixed wireless CDMA handsets which will be limited to being used only at their registered address.
In a move which is more likely aimed at clamping down on tax evasion, the regulator will also require mobile phone retailers have a trading license and secure the legitimate source of all handsets they offer for sale. The government imposes a six percent import tax plus sales taxes on all imported phones making smuggling a profitable enterprise.
It has been previously estimated that over 20,000 mobile phones are entering the country through illegal channels every month.