Within the last week, the Telecommunications Ministry has sent out an SMS to all Lebanese residents urging them to turn on their unused mobile devices before June 1. After that date, the government will lock all phones which haven't been turned on since January 2011. Note: this initiative applies to any device which uses a SIM card, including tablets, routers and dongles.

A lot of people are confused about the initiative. So we’re laying it out for you here in simple terms, and with the help of mobile operator Touch's super handy infographic, which we've separated into sections below.

Why is this happening?

The Telecom Ministry is cracking down on illegally imported mobile devices. According to the Ministry, 70 percent of mobile phones in Lebanon are smuggled into the country. This initiative could potentially boost state revenue by as much as $60 million a year.

What you need to know:

If you've been using your phone like a normal person and on a regular basis (regardless of where you purchased it) you have nothing to worry about.

But here's a bunch of scenarios that might affect you:

1. Buying a New Phone

If you go to buy a new phone after June 1, insert your SIM card into the phone and try making a call first -- yes, do this while you're still at the store. As long as it works, the phone is legal and you won't have any problems.

2. Old Phones

If you have a phone that's been lying around since 2011 that you haven't turned on or used, all you have to do is pop in a SIM card. Once the phone is connected to your service provider, either Touch or Alfa, you're good to go. After just a few minutes, you can take the SIM card out and go about your business as usual.

3. Buying a Used Phone

If you purchase a used phone from someone, make sure that person sends an SMS to 1014 (it's for free) *using his/her old SIM card.* This will cut the connection between that person's SIM and the old phone so you can use it without any issues.

4. Visiting Lebanon

If you're visiting from another country and you have a Lebanese SIM card that you want to pop into your phone once you get here, all you have to do is register it at the airport. Touch says it will have representatives positioned near the baggage claim area of the Beirut International Airport to to assist people through this step.

5. Roaming

If you're visiting from another country and want to roam on one of the networks, none of this affects you.

If you have any further questions about the issue, you can contact the Touch or Alfa customer service support lines at 111.

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