Lost your mobile phone? No worries. The government will come to your rescue.
The department of telecommunications, since 2017, has been working on the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) — a database of IMEIs (International Mobile Equipment Identity) — the 15-digit unique number that identifies mobile devices. India has over a billion wireless subscribers.
Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will launch the web portal to report theft of phones in Maharashtra on Friday. A pilot project for this will begin in the state.
How will this work? If your mobile phone is stolen or lost, you will have to file an FIR and inform the DoT via helpline number 14422. After the police complaint, the DoT will blacklist the IMEI number which would result in the handset being blocked from accessing any mobile network in the future. This would effectively make the device redundant.
Through the same IMEI number, your cellular operator will also be able to block the phone from accessing the network.
Further details will emerge in the evening after the launch of the portal.
The CEIR will also have access to GSMA’s global IMEI database, allowing comparison of IMEI numbers to identify counterfeit handsets. GSMA is a global body which represents cellular operators, gear makers, software and internet companies, among other entities in the telecom ecosystem. This would ensure international cooperation in matters of handset theft.