Qualcomm extended the reach of a software platform developed to crack down on the use of counterfeit or stolen mobile devices, a practice it said costs genuine manufacturers in the region of €45.3 billion in lost sales each year.
The US company made its Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) available to download for free as open-source software. DIRBS enables regulatory bodies to classify devices and create databases based on international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) numbers, which can then be used to check the status of devices and take action if the phones do not meet their standards.
A Qualcomm representative told Mobile World Live DIRBS provides broader functionality than previous solutions, addressing illegal, counterfeit and non-certified devices in addition to those that are lost or stolen. It can also help identify devices which are “illegally imported or smuggled, or may have other issues associated with it such as invalid or duplicate IMEIs.”
In addition to costing manufacturers, the use of stolen or countefeit devices can impact network operators by introducing security flaws, reducing capacity, and causing spectrum interference.
The software has been available in Pakistan for several months and Qualcomm expects several other countries to come on board. Mohammad Raheel Kamal, senior director of IPR Enforcement, said the move “will allow the mobile industry to rapidly implement” the platform.
Qualcomm is not alone in seeking to tackle use of stolen and counterfeit devices: the GSMA’s device check service enables retailers, resellers and law enforcement to determine if a device has been reported lost or stolen, based on a registry maintained by mobile operators; while CTIA launched a website offering US consumers access to the GSMA database in 2017.