India blocks millions of mobiles for defense reasons

Technology.am (Dec.01, 2009) — Millions of Indian mobile phones with no suitable exclusive identification code have been blocked for security reasons. The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is a 15-digit code which appears on the operator’s network every time a call is made.

indian-woman-on-phoneThe absence of this number makes it impracticable to mark out either the caller or the phone or to access call particulars. Indian intelligence agencies declared phones without the code have been used in attacks by militant groups. Mobile phones with no code were blocked at midnight – operators were asked to block calls to them “in the wake of amplified threat insight from militants”.

It is anticipated that India has over 25 million phones with no codes. Phones with no codes or void numbers are generally cheap, unbranded phones. Millions are manufactured in India or imported, by and large from China. Correspondents say these phones are well-liked because they are generally much cheaper than the branded ones.

Several phone subscribers said they were being incorrectly penalized because they were not conscious that every handset had to have a code. The Cellular Operators’ Association of India has asked the government to extend the time limit for blocking the numbers so that it can install identity numbers on unbranded devices. According to estimates by the Indian Cellular Association, unbranded phones account for virtually 30% of the entire sales in India.

India has the best ever growing mobile phone market in the world, with over 488 million subscribers. Every month millions of new subscribers are added to the list.

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