If you’re wondering what authoritarian technology futures look like, here’s an example from North Cyprus. This is a message from The Information Technologies and Communication Authority telling me I can use my device (IMEI number sent in the clear in the text) for 90 days without registering it (something I first encountered in Turkey years ago). Also note, they took a copy of my passport while buying the prepaid SIM card (something they also do in Belgium).

The dystopian future is now.

Translation of mentioned SMS message (attached image):
Your device with 3...9 IMEI number is not registered and you can use this device for 90 days only with 5...7 phone number. 90 days limitation for your devices will be renewed every calendar year. For more information on registering your device, please call BTHK (Information and Communication Technologies Authority) at 0392 444 2845.

Registering a device costs around 2000 TL (~240$ as of 2021) regardless of how cheap your phone is. Even if you are a student with limited budget, you got to either pay 240$ to register your phone, or buy a crappy phone that costs just as much. Tax on smartphones is close to 90% in Turkey.
600$ iPhone 12 in USA becomes 1120$ in Turkey.
A very appropriate price for Turkey's economy that is in freefall.

@murtezayesil@fosstodon.org @aral@mastodon.ar.al oof.. i cant believe registering IMEI for end user could be that pricy. 🤦 . Does this price also applies to a local brand/made too? I wonder this because of enforced custom tax on telecommunication devices like in Indonesia.


There is no phone manufacturing in Turkey AFAIK. Quality does not compare to imports. Even if the quality was a match, it would be because most local brands only stick their logo on the back panel. Only Vestel came close calling a phone "Made in Turkey" and it was limited to assembling foreign parts.
You would think that registering price is for making local brands more appealing. I say, what local brand?
@sandycorzeta @aral

@murtezayesil@fosstodon.org @aral@mastodon.ar.al Xiaomi has an manufacturing factory in my country, while its not a local brand it is somehow lowering the gauge to the end user for having their imei registration handled by the company to the government.

There is a policy in my country that any telecommunication devices on the market has to register their IMEI to the government, otherwise it cannot use the mobile data feature to any mobile operator even the sim card is inserted (wifi still work). And for protecting the economy market on gadgets like these, the company who made the phone at least have to set up a branch company in Indonesia or can be better setting up their manifacturing plant too. Thus making phones like iPhones or Pixel is more expensive (due custom tax) and have to register the IMEI in personal to the customs offices. Not even to mention that registering a phone IMEI that is priced under 500$ is free while above that, you have to pay again.

There are Xiaomi, Oppo, Realme, TCL and Samsung phone assembly lines in Turkey. Even though they aren't adding 240$ IMEI to locally assembled devices, tax still inflates prices by nearly 70%. Xiaomi's assembles Redmi 9T and 9C in Turkey.

Redmi 9T (128GB SSD, 4GB RAM) is available for 2900 TLY (approximately 340$) and 6GB RAM variant is 32,000 PKR (~210$) in Pakistan.


@sandycorzeta @aral

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