The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is looking for the ban on import of phones that carries fake IMEI numbers. It is reported TRAI may approach Commerce and Industry Ministry for this issue.
IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity number. It is a 15-digit unique code assigned for each handset produced. The number is unique to GSM, WCDMAA, IDEN as well as satellite phones. On most of the phones users can view the number by dialing *#06#. When a call is made from a phone its IMEI number flashes on the carrier's network and this in turn helps authorities in tracking the phone user.
In a report published by PTI it is learned TRAI seeks import should be allowed to those phones that are certified by the GSM Association (GSMA) as well as Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) for GSM and CDMA devices.
In 2009 the Indian government had put a ban on services of phones carrying fake IMEI or invalid IMEI numbers. However, a recent test reveals still fake IMEI numbered handsets are widely being used in the country. The estimated figure is about 30 million.
A DoT official was quoted saying, "The idea is to ask importers of handsets to provide a certificate issued by a GSMA or TIA authorised body for entry of his consignment in the country."
Handsets with fake IMEI numbers are mainly used by terrorists as their locations cannot be traced. The ban of such handsets in 2009 came after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.