New Delhi: The government has banned import
of CDMA mobile phones that lack unique electronic serial
number and mobile equipment identifier, which help authorities
identify and track users.
"Import of ‘CDMA mobile phones’ without Electronic Serial
Number(ESN)/Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID) or with all
Zeroes as ESN / MEID is prohibited with immediate effect," the
Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a
There are about 100 million CDMA subscribers in India and
around 5.8 million users are being added per month, according
to the industry.
India imports most of the CDMA phones from China and
A CDMA operator said that CDMA phones are bundled with
operators which do have all the necessary unique numbers but
those available in the open market do not carry any ESN and
Concerns were raised over usage of such phones after
terrorist attacks like the one in Mumbai in November last year
and these devices are seen as a serious threat to security.
These numbers are displayed below the battery or on the
back of the mobile handset. The numbers are used as a means to
facilitate mobile equipment identification and tracking.
ESN is mainly used in CDMA-based technology phones,
compared to IMEI numbers used by all GSM phones.
Earlier in June, the government had banned import of
mobile phones that lack unique IMEI identification number for
GSM players. IMEI is a 15-digit code which tracks the network
of a call made through GSM services.