18,000 mobile phones using same IMEI number found
New Delhi: Two cases of more than 18,000 mobile phones having the same 15-digit unique code, IMEI, on telecom network have been detected, Parliament was informed on Friday.
Such instances make it difficult for security and law enforcement agencies to identify the actual user.
"Two cases have come to notice wherein same IMEIs has been used in more than 18,000 cell phones," Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said in a reply to Rajya Sabha.
Department of Telecom on April 29, 2009 had directed telecom service providers that calls from mobile handsets without International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) should not be processed and rejected from June 30, 2009.
Further directions were issued on September 3, 2009 to bar communication from mobile handsets with any IMEI number which is not available in the latest updated IMEI database of global association GSMA from November 30, 2009 onwards.
Also, this direction instructed telecom operators not to process communication from mobile phone not having IMEI number or just zeroes, the minister said.
Similar instructions were issued for CDMA handsets without the unique code Electronic Serial Number (ESN) or Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID).
The Minister further said that Ministry of Commerce has already banned import of GSM mobile handsets without IMEI or with all zeroes IMEI as well as CDMA handsets without ESN or MEID or with all zeroes ESN or MEID.
Sibal, however, said it is difficult to differentiate between original handset and duplicate handset with same IMEI number.
"Department of Telecommunications is examining the issue to find out possible solutions to resolve the issue of illegal IMEI and use of same IMEI in different cell phones," he said.