A lot of unbranded and largely Chinese mobile phones were disconnected by mobile service providers today in India, due to invalid IMEI, fake IMEI, illegal IMEI numbers of these mobile phones. This follows a Government of India directive for security purposes, wherein mobile phones which do not have a valid IMEI number will no longer be connected to mobile networks.
As of Dec 1 2009, all the telecom operators are blocking such mobile devices and as per estimates, there are over 25 million such phones. So if you bought a cheap smartphone from the gray market, chances are high that it would have stopped working.
As per a notice on the website of Indian Cellular Association and a downloadable letter http://www.ica-ind.org/images/Ica-Letter.pdf (.pdf), the Government of India directs Operators not to process and reject calls from mobile handsets IMEI numbers not available in the updated GSMSA database or without IMEI Numbers or all Zeros from 30.11.2009.
They advise that selling of any mobile phones without IMEI number or all zeros as IMEI number or fake IMEI number or fake/ cloned IMEI number is against national security and is illegal.
So what is the IMEI number? The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is a unique 15-digit code on every GSM and WCDMA and iDEN mobile phone.
How can you find IMEI number of your mobile phone? Type *#06# and your IMEI number will be displayed.
How can you check authenticity of your IMEI number? Use this IMEI analysis tool, enter your 15 digit IMEI code and you can check all known information regarding manufacturer, model type, and country of approval of a handset. The Indian Cellular Association says users can SMS “IMEI 15digitnumber” to 57886 and the SMS reply will provide the brand name and the model number for which this IMEI number was originally allotted.
So why are Invalid IMEI numbers are harmful? The IMEI number appears on the operator’s network whenever a call is made. If the IMEI number is not displayed, it is impossible to trace the caller or the phone or get call details. Terror groups may take advantage of this situation for secret communications, therefore, Government of India has banned these fake illegal IMEI connections.