GSMA, Customs join forces to combat fake mobile devices

An Android mobile phone

An Android mobile phone

The GSM Association (GSMA), an association of mobile operators worldwide, has signed an agreement to collaborate the World Customs Organization (WCO) in the fight against the counterfeiting and fraudulent trading of mobile devices.

WCO represents 180 Customs administrations around the world, including the Nigerian Customs Service. It is the steward of international Customs standards and the central forum for co-operation and dialogue on Customs matters.

The partnership will focus on the integration of the GSMA’s mobile device database with the WCO’s IPM mobile platform that will give customs officers global, real-time product information on devices enabling them to assess the authenticity of device shipments as they cross borders.

Technology Times file photo shows a mobile phone

According to a report by GSMA, the move is intended to improve cross-border trade procedures, assist with the rapid detection of counterfeit goods and secure the international trade supply chain.

“The trading of counterfeited mobile devices is a global issue that has a number of severe consequences to its victims, such as safety concerns related to the release of substandard devices, as well as an impact on the reputation and revenue of rights holders,” said John Hoffman, CEO, GSMA Ltd.

“This collaboration with the WCO will allow customs officers to access the most accurate information available on bonafide devices, helping in the fight against the trade of counterfeit devices,” adds Hoffman.

The GSMA administers the allocation of International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEIs) numbers via Type Allocation Codes (TAC) and runs the world’s authoritative database of registered devices. The WCO’s IPM web and mobile platform is a global security gateway that allows customs officers to verify the authenticity of products online. It also allows manufacturers or rights holders to share relevant product information, which is made available in real time to customs organizations and can be added to their consignment checking procedures.

Commenting on the partnership, Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organization, said: “The integration of the GSMA database into our IPM platform is an important step in the fight against counterfeit and illicitly traded mobile devices. We are very proud to be able to work in partnership with the GSMA as well as manufacturers of mobile devices, making available to customs officers around the world, through our IPM platform, information and product details that can effectively assist our day-to-day operations.”

The partnership will combine GSMA device data with rights holders’ interfaced data pools, as well as the unique information a rights holder has uploaded into IPM, enabling customs officers to scan and verify the IMEI codes of mobile devices and make instant and informed decisions. Customs officers and rights holders also have the ability to contact each other instantaneously via the IPM platform and exchange information in real time, according to the report.

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