Ban on handsets without security code deferred

January 7th, 2009 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) The Department of Telecom’s (Dot) decision to ban mobile phones that do not have the international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) - a unique 15-digit identity code for handsets - has been deferred for “some time”, an official said.”The order is still pending with the (telecom) ministry. Till then, no action will be taken on these handsets,” a DoT official, who did not wish to be identified, told IANS.

IMEI helps the authorities identify the handset used for GSM network, while the electronic serial number (ESN) is used for CDMA network for the same purpose.

The home ministry last month had directed the DoT to re-exercise the verification of SIMs and to rule out the use of mobile handsets without having proper IMEI or ESN numbers. The investigating agencies had found that terrorists had been using these mobile phones for their communication purposes.

Earlier, the DoT had asked the telecom operators to disconnect handsets that do not have IMEI Jan 6. But now, with the decision deferred, both operators and handset users will get little more time.

The decision would affect nearly 25 million handsets, with most of them being Chinese-made.

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