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Government Announces One Big Rule To Block Stolen And Fake Smartphones In India: All Details


In order to prevent the misuse of lost or stolen smartphones in India, the government has taken a bold step. Starting January 1, 2023 all mobile phone manufacturers are required to register the IMEI number of every handset manufactured in India with the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction portal (https://icdr.ceir.gov.in) before the first sale of a newly launched mobile phone.

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Reports in the past have highlighted that in India there are lakhs of smartphones and feature phones that come with fake IMEI numbers or even duplicate IMEI numbers. Also, it isn’t difficult to buy copycats of popular handsets in India that mostly arrive from China. The new rule aims to make sure that all mobile phones that are sold in India have a legit IMEI number that can be tracked digitally. For the citizens, the new process will help users block their smartphones or feature phones if it gets lost or stolen, so that it cannot be misused. This is also expected to arrest the black marketing of smartphones in India.

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To recall, back in June 2020, the Meerut Police found out that 13,500 smartphones from Vivo had the same IMEI Number. And this is not just a singular incident or for one brand. Similar incidents were reportedly earlier for other Chinese brands as well.

Even for imported smartphones, and not just Made-In-India phones, like top-end iPhones, Samsung Galaxy smartphones among others, this rule will apply.

“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 (https://icdr.ceir.gov.in) of the Government of India in the Department of Telecommunications prior to import of mobile phone into the country,” according to a notification by the government.

For those unaware, note that the IMEI number is unique and it is used to track criminals. While the SIM card can be changed or destroyed, the IMEI number is hard coded and making it easier for law enforcement agencies to tackle crime.

If you’re buying a used mobile phone or a new headset from anywhere, always check whether or not the device has got an IMEI number or not. Any device without an IMEI number is fake and you should avoid buying it, To check the IMEI number, simple dial *#06# to get the details. For dual SIM smartphones, there will be two unique IMEI numbers.

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What is the Counterfeited Device Restriction (ICDR) system?

In 2021, the government had introduced the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction (ICDR) system for issuing IMEI certificates for import of mobile devices through various customs ports.

The new system has already been operational from January 1, 2020. The new system can be accessed through the web portal https://icdr.ceir.gov.in for registration and generation of IMEI certificates. There are no charges for registration and generation of IMEI certificates through this web portal at present.

“The new system has replaced the old IMEI Cloning and Duplication Restriction system, which was operated and maintained by Mobile Standard Alliance of India (MSAI). Hence MSAI is not authorised for registration, generation or issue of IMEI certificates,” according to the government.

The government has also advised that IMEI certificates obtained/generated/issued through any other sources are illegal and there will be legal action. Government has not authorised/appointed any agent or third party to assist the applicant for the registration and IMEI certificate generation process through the above-mentioned web portal,” it added.

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