Department of Telecom assigns mobile tracking project to C-DoT

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The Department of Telecom has assigned the mobile phone tracking project — aimed at bringing down counterfeit cellphones and discouraging theft — to the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT). 

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“Decision was taken in July 2017 to get the project done through BSNL. Now, the decision has been reviewed to assign the project to C-DoT,” an official source told PTI. C-DoT will have to develop and implement the project which is named Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR).

The government has proposed to allocate Rs 15 crore for setting up CEIR in the country that will bring down the number of counterfeit handsets and discourage theft, according to the Union Budget 2018-19. The CEIR system 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 law enforcement authorities for lawful interception. 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.

IMEI number — a unique 15-digit serial number of mobile devices — is allocated by global industry body GSMA and bodies authorised by it. When a mobile phone is lost, the victim is required to mention the IMEI number of the handset for tracking.

CEIR will be regularly updated with IMEI of lost, stolen or counterfeit handsets. The DoT has barred telecom operators from providing service to any mobile phone with fake IMEI number, but the operators face problem in identifying handsets with duplicate IMEI number. CEIR will also help operators in identifying handsets with fake IMEI numbers as it will have details of handset model to which the IMEI had been originally allocated.

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