The Department of Telecom will next week discuss the mobile phone cloning issue with global industry body GSM Association, an official said today. “A meeting with GSMA is scheduled for April 17 to discuss various issues. The DoT will take up mobile phone cloning issues with them,” an official source, who did not wished to be named, told PTI. The meeting will be a follow-up to the issues raised by telecom minister Manoj Sinha during his visit to Mobile World Congress at Barcelona, Spain, in February. He had raised challenges posed by cloning of unique identity number of mobile handsets, IMEI as well as SIMs.
IMEI number – a unique 15-digit serial number of mobile devices – is allocated by global industry body GSMA and organisations authorised by it. When a mobile phone is lost, the victim is required to mention the IMEI number of the handset for tracking. The DoT will also discuss SIM cloning issues with GSMA “but it is not the only body that can help in resolving fake SIMs. The issue of fake SIMs will be taken up with other bodies separately”, the source said. The government through C-DoT is developing a system, Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR), which will block all services on stolen or lost mobile phones on any network even if the SIM card is removed or IMEI number of the handset is changed.
CEIR is also expected to protect consumer interest and facilitate for law enforcement authorities legal interception. The government has proposed to allocate Rs 15 crore for setting up CEIR which will bring down the number of counterfeit handsets and discourage theft, according to the Union Budget 2018-19. “The DoT will seek help of GSMA help in implementation CEIR,” the source said. CEIR will connect the IMEI database of all mobile operators.
It will act as a central system for all network operators to share blacklisted mobile terminals so that devices placed under the said category in one network will not work on the other, even if the SIM card in the device is changed, it said. DoT and GSMA will also discuss the roadmap for capacity building, knowledge and global best practices sharing program.