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TRAI attempts to curb mobile theft

The regulator has ordered that the unique IMEI number of stolen mobile phones be blocked so that phones become useless once they are stolen.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has proposed to block the IMEI numbers of stolen mobile phones. IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity and refers to the unique identification number on each mobile device.
The service provider’s network is aware of your phone’s IMEI number when you make a call. This information can be used to block a mobile device from interacting with any network.
Most operators have welcomed the move, but have suggested that they be allowed to charge for blocking IMEI numbers as this will require them to upgrade their network.
If the past is any indication though, TRAI is unlikely to accept this demand of the operators.
There are meanwhile various other issues that need to be sorted before this service is made available. Operators have said they want either the regulator (TRAI) or a third party to maintain a database of IMEI numbers that need to be blocked.
And there is the problem of IMEI numbers being cloned on more than one device as well – some thing like hacks for software and pirated DVDs.
During the discussion about IMEI numbers BSNL made a recommendation to TRAI and suggested that mobile phone theft be made a criminal offence, as if it isn’t already.

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