New Delhi, May 04: After the government`s disapproval over mobile handsets without IMEI, the GSM mobile operators lobby Cellular Operators Association of India, on Monday said it will set up 1,600 centres across the country for installing genuine identity number on devices without this number.
Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) with Mobile Standard Alliance of India has developed a software for the Implantation of genuine International Mobile Equipment Identity numbers (IMEI) (issued by GSMA) on handsets without IMEI or all zero IMEI, COAI said in a statement.
The IMEI number is a 16-digit code, unique to every handset, and is used by GSM network to identify valid devices and therefore can be used to stop a stolen phone from accessing the network.
For example, if a mobile phone is stolen, the owner can call his or her network provider and instruct them to block services on the handset using its IMEI number rendering the phone useless, whether or not the phone`s SIM is changed.
After getting clearance from DoT and security agencies, the program, which is time-bound program, envisages opening of 1600 GII centres across the entire country in a phased manner, it added.
The first 10 GII centres have been made operational today at New Delhi and the remaining will be made operational in a phased manner.
The centres will carry out the implantation of the genuine IMEI numbers obtained from GSMA, the only global body which allocates genuine IMEI numbers to official bodies.
"We believe that most of these handsets are owned by the common man...it would be unfair and unjust to disconnect such customers as they have bought these handsets unknowingly. The GII program is in the interest of such customers," COAI Director General TV Ramachandran said.
DoT had issued directions to all mobile service providers, in the interest of national security, that by April 15, 2009 they should incorporate the Equipment Identity Register (EIR) software to automatically block services to customers who use handsets without IMEI numbers or have number as 00000.
Once implemented, the EIR does not allow you to make a call from a Chinese cell phone or to a Chinese phone with questionable IMEI number.
There are an estimated 25 million phones, irrespective of the GSM or CDMA technology, which do not have IMEI or have just 15-digit IMEI numbers instead of 16 digits.