Is your friend boasting of his newly bought low cost and fully featured Chinese mobile phone ? then soon it would be one of those million sets in India that would become a heavy paper weight !!
After the 9/11 of India , the Government of India has realised how these cellphones without IMEI numbers are really a boon to terrorists and pose a threat to national security !
The International Mobile Equipment Identity or IMEI is a number unique to every GSM and UMTS and iDEN mobile phone as well as some satellite phones. It is usually found printed on the phone underneath the battery.The IMEI number is used by the GSM network to identify valid devices and therefore can be used to stop a stolen phone from accessing the network.By using the IMEI number, the security agencies not only can block the handset, but also retrieve call details from the recovered handset.
Most of the Chinese and Korean mobiles that are available in grey market ( or gray market ) either dont have these IMEI numbers or have fake IMEI numbers or use the same number for a large number of mobile phones.
An IMEI number consists of 15-17 digits. Genuine branded phones carry valid IMEI numbers. When the SIM card in a mobile phone gets activated, the IMEI number gets automatically registered with the GSM service provider and it becomes possible to trace a call and find out the caller’s identity and the location from where the call was made .
There are approximately 1.5 crore China-made and locally-assembled handsets in use that don’t have IMEI numbers. Even mobile phones that have all zeroes or no zero in their IMEI code will be barred.
Sales of Chinese handsets constitute about 13 per cent (or Rs 4,000 crore) of the Rs 30,000-crore annual mobile handset market in the country. IMEI numbers can be checked by dialing “*#06#” in any keypad.