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New Delhi: The department of telecommunications on Monday launched a web portal for residents of Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad and Gurgaon to enable them to block and trace stolen or lost mobile phones.

Since 2017, the DoT has been working on the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) — which is a database of IMEIs (International Mobile Equipment Identity), the 15-digit number that uniquely identifies mobile devices. India has over a billion wireless subscribers.

IMEI is a programmable number and miscreants are able to reprogram this which results in cloning of IMEI, causing multiple phone devices with same IMEI number. This results in cases of duplicated IMEI phones on the network.

“One IMEI number can have over 100 phones," Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash said. “Through this portal we can ensure only the stolen phone is blocked not the other phones," he added.

The launch of the portal will facilitate request for blocking of stolen/lost phones and allow services to other existing customers having mobile phones with same IMEI number.

The portal will also ensure sharing of traceability data with police authorities and unblock recovered/found mobile phones which were lost or stolen.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had in September launched a similar web portal to report theft of phones in Mumbai.

How will this work?

If your mobile phone is stolen or lost, you will have to fire an FIR with the police, and after that upload an identity proof to the portal to block the IMEI number across India

After the police complaint, the DoT will blacklist the IMEI number which would result in the handset being blocked from accessing any mobile network in the future. This would effectively make the device redundant.

Through the same IMEI number, your cellular operator will also be able to block the phone from accessing the network.

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