In a bid to implement the newly introduced mobile devices registration system, Ethio telecom instructed local mobile assembles as well as importers to submit the necessary documents which will indicate the amount of mobile devices in the country, The Reporter learnt.
The assemblers and importers are instructed last week to register mobile devices which might be in the market but never been used before; hence not recognizable by the network.
This will help importers who import mobile devices through legal means and local producers to get their mobile devices get registered.
It is estimated that close 20 million mobile sets are sold annually in Ethiopia.
In this respect, the importers are expected to submit all the necessary tax declaration documents which show the devices are taxed and have enter the country via legal means.
The new system is expected disable around 2.7 million counterfeited and substandard mobile phone apparatuses most of which are said to have been imported into the country illegally.
This new system was welcomed by local mobile assemblers who were lobbying for the introduction of the system for so long.
It is expected to significantly reduce the presence of contraband mobiles sets in the market.
“This is a good thing for both local producers as well as the end users,” Amare Teferi (PhD), leader of Information & Communication Technology Association-Ethiopia (ICT-ET), told The Reporter.
In addition, the system would help the government to collect revenue through tax, he said.
Recent studies indicate that 61 percent of the overall mobile phone market in Ethiopia is dominated by contraband trade.
On top of that, 90 percent of the devices imported to Ethiopia through contraband trade are smart phones and the rest are feature phones.
Yet from smart phones, Samsung took the lion’s share with annual sales of 3.5 million units. In addition, Mobile phone brands like Huawei had sales of 1.8 million units annually, followed by Nokia at one million.
The local assembler— Tecno— is fourth with 700,000 units per year.
As of now, there are around 14 local assemblers involved in mobile device manufacturing in country. Industry analysis hopes that the new system would attract more investors to join the industry.
“Substandard and cloned devices congest the mobile network. Contraband devices are overwhelming the market discouraging local mobile phone producers. The local assemblers are losing their market to cloned cheap contraband phones and we should protect these investments,” Balcha Reba, Regulatory Director at the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology told media last week.
According to Ethio telecom, there are now 58 million mobile subscribers in Ethiopia.