In a proactive move to prevent theft and cloning of mobile phones, the Indian government recently announced a Central Equipment Identity Register, which categorises mobile phones based on their IMEI status, and tells whether a mobile phone with a specific IMEI number is allowed for use or not.
The three categorisations are white, grey and black. Phones with IMEI numbers in the white are allowed to use, and those on the black list are those thar are reported stolen or lost and are not be allowed to access the network. Devices with IMEI numbers in the grey list do not conform to standards but are permitted to connect under supervision.
Now, as a follow up to the handy register, the government has told mobile phone manufacturers to register the IMEI number of every handset manufactured in India with the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction (ICDR) portal starting January 1, 2023. Also, IMEI number of imported devices too will need to be registered on ICDR system, and obtaining IMEI certificates will be mandatory for the import of mobile devices through various customs ports.
For the record, every mobile phone comes with a unique 15-digit IMEI International Mobile Equipment Identity) number which serves as unique ID of the device.
How to find your device’s IMEI number and what to do in case of phone theft
“The manufacturer shall register the international mobile equipment identity number of every mobile phone manufactured in India with the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction portal of the government of India in the Department of Telecommunications prior to the first sale of the mobile phone,” a notification from the government said. You can check it out at: https://icdr.ceir.gov.in
The notification is issued under the Prevention of Tampering of the Mobile Device Equipment Identification Number (Amendment) Rules, 2022.
The ICDR system has been operational since January 28, 2020. IMEI certificates can be generated and registered without paying any charge.
The government is taking these steps as the Indian market is flooded with hundreds of thousands of mobile phones come with fake IMEI numbers or even duplicate IMEI numbers.
It should be known that the first thing to do, in the event of your phone lost or stolen, is to file a police complaint and get a complaint number. And then on the CEIR site/app, you can block the phone’s use by filling out a form, which will ask for your mobile number, model, IMEI number and other relevant details of your handset which could be used for tracking the device. If you manage to get back the phone, you can unblock the device for use. If you buy an used-phone then you can also check whether the device is stolen or not.
Also, you can find the IMEI number of your phone from inside the settings tab under the ‘About the phone’. Or else, dial *#06#. Most companies also provide the IMEI number on the box of the phone they pack it in.