Around 30 million mobile phones in the country will become dead or useless by the end of this month unbranded Chinese mobiles that do not have IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers which pose a serious security risk will be dead.
All mobile phone service users have been directed by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to disconnect these phones. In fact, two deadlines January 6 and March 31 have already been missed by the companies. Now they have undertaken to acquire the necessary equipment to track these phones by April 15 and discontinue their services thereafter a process that is expected to take another 15 days that is by April 30.
Under law, all GSM phones are required to have a unique IMEI number that gets reflected at cell phone towers with which if required the location of a mobile phone user can be tracked. These Chinese phones however show up as a series of zeroes at cell towers or by their cloned IMEI number. Either way they can’t be tracked.
The CBI first pointed out the risk to the Union home ministry which took up the issue with DoT. In turn, DoT has instructed service providers to disconnect all phones without IMEI numbers. The service providers according to DoT sources have dragged their feet “despite the obvious security risk to the country.”
Service providers told they needed to equip themselves with Equipment Identity Registers which would allow them to check if calls are from legal or fake phones. EIRs, they said, would be with all by April 15. The weeding out will then begin.
Is your handset under operator’s scanner? Dial *#06# in your cell phone a 15 digit number will be displayed enter IMEI number below and click check