IMEI number of mobile phones must be registered from 2023
The Indian government has made it mandatory for mobile manufacturers to register the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number of every handset made in the country. The same will be applicable to importers too before they import a phone, said a gazette notification from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). IMEI is a unique 15-digit number that identifies each mobile phone.
Why does this story matter?
- Theft and counterfeiting of mobile phones are serious issues in India. Apart from the obvious financial loss, it threatens an individual's right to privacy.
- The government has been taking steps to curtail the problem. Despite the efforts, it hasn't been able to make the desired progress.
- The new system is expected to give the government a headstart in tracking lost mobile phones.
IMEI must be registered with Indian Counterfeit Device Restriction portal
The DoT notification about the mandatory registration of IMEI of mobile phones amends the Prevention of Tampering of the Mobile Device Equipment Identification Number Rules, 2017. The new rule requires manufacturers to register the IMEI number of every phone with the Indian Counterfeit Device Restriction portal starting from 2023. Mobile phones imported to India for any purpose will also have to undergo the same.
Manufacturers must register IMEI before first sale
The Prevention of Tampering of the Mobile Device Equipment Identification Number Rules, 2017 came into effect after the Centre decided to make tampering with IMEI numbers a punishable offense. The current amendment gives more teeth to the framework. It replaces the old IMEI cloning and duplication restriction system. Now, manufacturers must register before a mobile phone's first sale, and importers, prior to importing.
Cloning and theft of mobile phones are rampant
There have been concerns about the widespread cloning and theft of mobile phones in the country. Handsets with the same IMEI have made it difficult to track lost phones. In a bid to curtail this, the government launched the Central Equipment Identity Register. It classifies mobile phones based on their IMEI number. The new rule is introduced to strengthen IMEI-based tracking.