Home / Technology / News /  Check your phone's IMEI: Govt issues rules to prevent mobile theft in India

Blackmarketing, fake IMEI number, phone thefts and phone tampering are real problems concerning the mobile industry in India. To keep a check on these issues in the country, the government has issued new guidelines. As per the new rules, all mobile phone manufacturers must register the IMEI number of every handset manufactured in India with the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction (ICDR) portal starting January 1, 2023.

“The international mobile equipment identity number of the mobile phone imported in India for sale, testing, research or any other purpose shall be registered by the importer with the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction portal (https://icdr.ceir.gov.in) of the Government of India in the Department of Telecommunications prior to import of mobile phone into the country," reads the notification issued by the government.

Lakhs of feature phones and smartphones in the country come with fake IMEI numbers or even duplicate IMEI numbers. In June 2020, the Meerut Police found more than 13,000 Vivo phones with the same IMEI number. Similar incidents have been reported in the past as well. The new guidelines make it mandatory for all phones manufactured in the country to have a unique IMEI number that can be tracked digitally. The rule will apply to imported phones including the top-end Samsung and Apple smartphones.

What is IMEI number?

IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity. It is a unique number to identify GSM, WCDMA, and iDEN mobile phones as well as satellite phones. Every phone has a single IMEI number, but there are two IMEI numbers in the case of dual SIM phones. Using the IMEI number, it becomes easier to track the phone in theft situations.

The number can also be used to verify the authenticity of the phone. Any phone that does not have an IMEI number is fake. Users should always check the device’s IMEI number before buying it. To check IMEI number, dial *#06# from your phone.

The government introduced the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction in 2021 for issue of IMEI certificates for import of mobile devices through various customs ports.

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