THE National Communications Authority (NCA) says it is on course with the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR).
The CEIR is a database to identify and give serial numbers to mobile phones to enable their deactivation when they are stolen.
The Director of Regulations and Licensing at the NCA, Mr Joshua K. Peprah, told the Daily Graphic that the process was still on course to ensure that the theft of mobile telephones was minimised and a genuine, refurbished second-hand mobile telephony market established in the country.
He said the process of establishing the CEIR was not a simple straightforward one but involved and included consultations with all the network providers and a lengthy process of acquiring the software.
“Getting the software also takes time, and when it comes, you have to install it, test it and ensure that it works with your system. Fortunately, all the service providers have now acquired the software,” he said.
Mr Peprah said the next step in the implementation stage was to link up all the systems of the service providers, adding that the team in charge of the programme was now in consultations to settle on where the database of registered mobile telephones would be kept, whether in Ghana or in Dublin, Ireland, where the international database was kept.
He added that subsequently, a consumer sensitisation campaign would be launched to get consumers to buy the idea of registering their mobile telephones, as the exercise would be on a voluntary basis.
In the interim, Mr Peprah said, mobile telephone users could still register their telephones with their service providers.
With that, a stolen mobile telephone could be deactivated when a report was made to the service provider, with the possibility of its retrieval by the security agencies.
Meanwhile, a thriving mobile black market has taken root in some areas in Accra, including the environs of Ghana Telecom and the central business district.
Handsets displayed on trays and cardboard are carried by young men who enthusiastically court passers-by for their wares.
Some of the handsets look new, but others look very old.
The young salesmen, strategically positioned on the rails along the pedestrian passage way, work in groups of two or three.
The first displays the handsets, while the second and third assistants carry the accessories of the telephones, jammed tightly into handy bags.
Emeka, a Nigerian, said he regularly went to China for his stock of mobile telephones.
“Look, these are not stolen; they are genuine phones,” he said as he tried to peel off the transparent covering on one.
Responding to the question as to why they sold on the streets and not in shops, Hakeem said he used to ply his trade close by GT before the area was cleared of hawkers and traders for rehabilitation works.
He said he found business brisk on the side walks, since “customers can get anything they want, even with a tight pocket”.
The various types of Nokia N series displayed on his tray, he said, ranged from GH¢10 to GH¢100, depending on a customer’s bargaining skills.
Another salesman, Nana Kwame Twum Barimah, whose mobile telephones looked old, said with GH¢20, one could get a Nokia 3310 and with GH¢40 an old Samsung.
Mr Peprah noted not all the old telephones being sold out there were stolen handsets.
He said there was a genuine refurbished second-hand business out there where dealers genuinely obtained the handsets for sale.
He said, however, that there were also some stolen ones, adding, “We are working to ensure that we have a genuine second-hand mobile business in the country”.
DAILY GRAPHIC, MONDAY MARCH 3, 2008