Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has come to the rescue of the people who have their mobile phones lost or stolen. Minister for Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday unveiled a portal in Mumbai which will help mobile phone users trace their stolen or lost mobile phones. A project called Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) has been undertaken by DoT for this purpose. This project is aimed at blocking of reported lost or stolen mobile phones across mobile networks, discouraging their theft, as well as facilitating in tracing of such phones. Alongside, DoT also launched a maritime communications service, and revealed VSAT solutions provider Nelco will undertake broadband services in the maritime sector.
All mobile phones have a unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number which is used to identify them. Because IMEI is reprogrammable, “some miscreants do reprogram the IMEI number, which results in cloning of IMEI causing multiple phone devices with same IMEI number. As on date, there are many cases of cloned/ duplicated IMEI handsets in the network,” according to the department.
If such IMEIs are blocked, several genuine customers might suffer. Therefore, there is a need to get rid of duplicate and fake IMEI phones. It is for this purpose that the CEIR (website) project has been undertaken, apart from from helping address "security, theft, and other concerns".
DoT has listed these as the primary objectives of the CEIR project, "Blocking of lost/stolen mobile phones across mobile networks thus discouraging theft of mobile phones; facilitate in tracing of such reported lost/stolen mobile phones; prevention of mobile devices with duplicate and fake IMEIs in the network; curtail the use of counterfeit mobile devices; reduced health risks to the users with the control of use of counterfeit mobile phones; improved QoS and reduced call drops with reduction in use of counterfeit mobile devices."
How to file a complaint?
If your mobile phone gets stolen or lost, you will first have to file a First Information Report (FIR) with the police and then inform DoT about the incident through a helpline number 14422. After verification, DoT will blacklist the phone, blocking it from further use. In addition to this, if anyone tries to use the device using a different SIM, the service provider will identify the new user and inform the police, according to a report by Livemint. This service is currently being rolled out in Maharashtra on a pilot basis.
DoT has been working on CEIR since 2017. It will have a database of all IMEI numbers in India since 2017. It will also have access to GSM Association's (GSMA) worldwide database of IMEI numbers to compare and detect mobile phone with counterfeit IMEI numbers.