You can now register grey phones into MDMS. But should you?


MDMS Grey Phones Registration
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After disclosing the provision for registering grey phones during the 2080/81 budget announcement, the Nepal government has finally set up a portal to make it possible. But the way things are, we’re a little conflicted if you should go ahead and register your handset by paying a certain fee in the first place. Let’s talk more about the registration of grey phones into MDMS.

What are grey phones? 

In short, grey devices are any electronic products sold through unofficial or unauthorized channels. For example, instead of buying an iPhone from one of the authorized Apple distributors in Nepal, you import one from the US or any other country. That’s a grey phone. And since grey phones don’t acquire type approval from Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) or anything, such devices aren’t registered in NTA’s database.

And MDMS (Mobile Device Management System) is a government-owned system that keeps record of all mobile phones entering the country via their unique IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number(s). Since IMEI numbers are unique to each phone, a proper record makes identifying grey and official phones quite easy. So in case grey phones aren’t registered under MDMS, they won’t be accessible to the network of any Nepali telecom operators.

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MDMS registration for grey phones

MDMS Grey Phone Registration

And now, NTA has updated its MDMS website to include a new portal where you can register your grey phone by paying a certain fee. But the catch is that the said phone must be in use with a SIM from a Nepali telco before Jestha 15, 2080 (aka May 29, 2023).

So let’s take a look at the fee structure to register your grey phone into the MDMS:

S. No. Device Type Fee amount
1 Smartphone that costs Rs. 1 lakh or more NPR 10,000
2 Apple’s iPhone NPR 10,000
3 Smartphone that costs less than Rs. 1 lakh NPR 3,000
4 Other phones (feature, bar phones) NPR 200

Let’s work from the bottom up. For any bar/feature phones (i.e. non-smartphones), NTA is charging NPR 200 for the registration process. Whereas if you bought an Android phone worth under NPR 1 lakh, you get away with NPR 3,000. Similarly, if you have a grey Android phone that is worth over NPR 1 Lakh, you have to pay NPR 10,000.

However, no matter which generation of iPhone it is, NTA has fixed its registration fee to be NPR 10,000. That means whether you bought an old second-hand iPhone 7—for example—or the latest iPhone 14 Pro Max, you’ll have to pay the same amount. To reiterate, this only applies if you’ve already been using the phone before Jestha 15. And any grey phone you bought after that can’t be enrolled into MDMS.

How to pay?

Anyway, you can register grey phones into MDMS by visiting this website. Just fill out all the details like your phone’s IMEI number, brand, model number, and other personal information like name, contact information, and address. 

MDMS - Grey Registration Payment Portal

After confirming that you’ve entered all the details right, you can pay the MDMS registration fee for your grey phone via eSewa, Khalti, and connectIPS. But only the connectIPS option seems to be working right now. 

Deadline for MDMS registration 

Moreover, the official deadline set by the Nepal government to register such phones is set at the end of Ashadh 2080. And we’re not sure how the government plans on handling all the grey handsets that aren’t registered on time.

What happens to those who simply didn’t know about it? Why hasn’t the government put more effort into promoting this? Realistically, you can either pay the fee right now or wait some time to see how things play out. And since most people are unaware of this, it is likely that the government might extend the deadline for MDMS registration of grey phones but it is definitely a gamble either way.

MDMS registration for grey phones: Final thoughts 

Okay, so there’s finally a way to register grey phones into the MDMS now. And that’s great. The fees also seem pretty fair for the most part unless you got an old grey iPhone recently.

Another food for thought would be “What about the phones that don’t launch in Nepal?” Will people be able to buy those phones at all? So while we think MDMS will have a positive impact on Nepal’s smartphone industry overall, there are still a lot of details to iron out about the implementation of MDMS.

  • Watch: MDMS in Nepal explained