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TRAI to ask government to ban import of phones with fake IMEI
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is planning to move the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, seeking a a ban on import of mobile phones withfake International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers. The regulatory body says such devices are a threat to national security.
The TRAI says that the devices that are approved by the GSM Association and Telecommunications Industry Association should only be allowed to sell in India. “TRAI will soon write to the Commerce Ministry to ban such phones. Import of only those cell phones should be allowed which are certified by GSMA-and TIA-authorised bodies for GSM [Global System for Mobile] and CDMA handsets respectively,” an official told PTI.
In case you didn't know, IMEI numbers are the unique 15-digit codes assigned to each handset and appear on an operator's network whenever calls are made.
The IMEI numbers have been really helpful for security officials to track down criminals. Of late several concerns have been raised over the fake and cloned IMEI numbers after terror attacks in the country. According to the official, the cloning issue in case of GSM handsets is very serious, as compared to CDMA handsets.
It may be recalled the Indian government has already banned sale of mobile handsets without IMEI numbers. However, a recent survey showed that more than 18,000 mobile handsets were using the same IMEI number.
“The idea is to ask importers of handsets to provide certificate issued by GSMA or TIA authorised body for entry of his consignment in the country,” the official said.
It's notable the regulatory body has previously made similar attempts to ensure authentic devices only prevail in the market and that these devices are not used against national security. Last year in November, the TRAI had contemplated blocking the lost and stolen mobile phones. To know more, read our previous coverage.
Recommendations of the TRAI, if implemented, will have a huge impact on the mobile phone market, especially on the flourishing Grey market where ultra low-cost devices, that do not adhere to the government norms, are being sold rampantly.
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