Ever since the telecom sector was launched in 2001 in Pakistan, with the introduction of GSM, the telecom industry has continued to witness a phenomenal growth in all facets of communication pushing mobile phone connections figure to over 130 million. Though this growing number of connections invariably fuelled the demand for mobile handsets and accessories within the country, yet it also gave boost to substandard mobile phone market. In fact appealing features, cheap price tags, dual SIM option, attractive packing as well as shapes, poverty and ignorance of technology are potential factors behind the booming of substandard mobile phones. Consumers opt for substandard or counterfeit mobile phones because they are cheap and look like the originals. A fresh study reveals that consumers and companies spend millions of dollars each year on counterfeit copies, financing scammers, who threaten the very integrity of the legitimate software industry. World-renowned mobile phone manufacturers, including Nokia, have identified Asia as one of the main sources of fake phones, which lack warranty, quality assurance, and standard technology and safety measures. Researches show that substandard mobile phones emit highly hazardous emissions and create radiations which may soon begin to manifest not fit for human health. The substandard components in fake phones often malfunction with the potential to injure users and damage property. It is point of high concern that fake phones are a drain on mobile phone networks reducing network speed and reception for users besides posting a high rate of call dropping.
Some of them have unpredictably short lives forcing the user to incur extra costs during replacement. As long as the trade on counterfeit mobile devices continues, government loses revenue in the form of taxes, the economy loses potential employment opportunities, and investors are discouraged, thus dealing a deadly blow on government’s efforts at encouraging foreign direct investment. The government can combat the growing counterfeit phone problem with promoting new as well as certified technology which can identify substandard devices on the mobile network and permanently block users who don’t change to a genuine product. As a remedy, the US and Australian government are presently mulling various means and options to de-link these fake phones from connecting to their country’s existing mobile network. There is a dire need to plug all loopholes of substandard or fake mobile phones smuggling besides. The government and mobile service providers need to sit together and draft a comprehensive strategy to create awareness among users about the hazards of substandard mobile phones.