DoT makes IMEI registration mandatory: What this means for companies and users – Times of India

The government has made the registration of IMEI number of all mobile phones mandatory before their sale in India on its anti-counterfeit and lost handset blocking portal from January 1, 2023. According to a notification from Department of Telecom (DoT), dated September 26, all mobile phones, whether made locally or imported, will need to be registered and get IMEI (International mobile equipment identity number) certificates from the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction portal that is run by the DoT. The notification has been issued under the Prevention of Tampering of the Mobile Device Equipment Identification Number (Amendment) Rules, 2022. Here’s what this means for companies, mobile users and more
What does the notification say
“The manufacturer shall register the international mobile equipment identity number of every mobile phone manufactured in India with the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction website of the government of India in the Department of Telecommunications prior to the first sale of the mobile phone,” the notification said.
“The international mobile equipment identity number of the mobile phone imported in India for sale, testing, research or any other purpose shall be registered by the importer with the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction portal of the government of India in the Department of Telecommunications prior to import of mobile phone into the country,” the notification said.
What is IMEI number
Every mobile phone comes with a unique 15-digit IMEI number which serves as unique ID of the device.
What is the CEIR website where IMEI numbers need to be registered
DoT launched the CEIR website with the aim to curtail the counterfeit mobile phone market and discourage mobile phone theft, protect consumer interest and facilitate law enforcement authorities for lawful interception. It connects to the IMEI database of all the mobile operators. CEIR acts as a central system for all network operators to share black listed mobile devices so that devices blacklisted in one network will not work on other networks even if the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card in the device is changed.
What can users do on CEIR website
Users can block their stolen or lost mobile. They can unblock a lost mobile when found. Users can also check the status of their request.
What is the aim of registration of IMEI by mobile vendors on the CEIR website
There have been concerns over inability to track lost mobile phones due to the presence of counterfeit devices with the same IMEI on telecom networks. The government has launched the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) project to block and trace lost or stolen mobile phones and added Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction (ICDR) system to curb proliferation of such handsets. At present only blocking facilities of stolen or lost mobiles are available on the portal.
What about the imported phones
With the fresh notification, IMEI number of even imported devices 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.
What about the smartphones bought from other countries
So far, it is not clear from the notification if users need to register the IMEI number of the phones that they buy from other countries. The notification so far asks only the smartphone vendors to register the phones made in India and those imported in India. If smartphone buyers too are required to register their devices, it may kill the grey market for premium phones in India as this may mean that will be required to pay the duty.

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