Get Ready to Pay Additional Taxes On New Phones in Lebanon
As of September, you will be paying additional taxes on newly purchased phones in Lebanon. The Ministry of Telecommunications reactivated the “DII” project that was put on hold back in 2014. The ministry claims that the main purpose of the project is to fight illegal, fake and replicated phones.
Technically, phones with an invalid IMEI number affects the performance of the network as well being a security risk, since fake devices cannot be tracked by the security forces when necessary.
Every authentic smartphone in the world is equipped with an IMEI number, which is a globally unique 15 digit number assigned to all cellular devices, it identifies your device within the mobile network.
In Lebanon, 95% of phones are legal and have a valid IMEI, but around 4% have a fake or replicated IMEI.
In an interview with MTV News, Bassel Al Ayoubi (Director General of Investment and Maintenance at the Ministry of Telecommunication) says that all phones existing and operating in the market for the past three years will be functioning properly without the need to be registered.
Tourists and people traveling to Lebanon from another country will have a grace period of 60 days/year before having to register their phones.
If you are planning to get a new phone soon, then you will need to register the device and pay the additional fees.
If you have a fake device, then you will have a few months before you are forced to change it. After a certain period, a small amount of money will be automatically reduced from your mobile account every month.
How Do I Know If My Phone is Legal and Has a Valid IMEI?
A process will be announced by the ministry and the telecom operators in which the user can validate if his device has a GSMA approved IMEI or you can simply check on this website.
When or before purchasing a new phone the user can call the operator (Alfa or Touch) or log in to a specific website (not released yet) to validate the IMEI number, learn if the device is authentic or fake and know the amount of money to be paid since the fees vary per device model.
In short, if you travel and purchase a new device from abroad, then upon arrival to Lebanon you will have 60 days to register your device and pay for it.
If you buy a new device from Lebanon, then either you will go through the same process, or the shop would have done this on behalf of his customers. Of course, this will affect the selling price.
I am for fighting illegal and fake devices, but I am totally against charging new and additional taxes on the Lebanese people.