DoT directs ban on usage of Chinese mobiles

April 4th, 2009 - 6:28 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Apr 4 (ANI): The Department of Telecom (DoT) has directed all mobile phone service users to disconnect the usage of unbranded Chinese mobiles that do not have IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers and pose a serious security risk to the country.

The mobile phone companies have undertaken to acquire the necessary equipment to track these phones by April 15 and discontinue their services thereafter - a process that is expected to take another 15 days, that is, by April 30.

Around 30 million mobile phones or about 8 percent of all mobiles in the country, are therefore expected to become useless by the end of the month.

The DoT had earlier issued similar directives to the mobile phone service users and companies and had given them two deadlines - January 6 and March 31. However, the companies had failed to abide by the guidelines then.

According to law, all GSM phones are required to have a unique IMEI number that gets reflected at cell phone towers. This IMEI number helps in tracking down the location of the mobile phone user.

These Chinese phones, however, fail to find the users as they either have their own cloned IMEI number or show up as a series of zeroes at cell towers.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was the first to point out the risk of these mobile phones to the Union home ministry, which later took up the issue with DoT.

It may be noted that the security threat from these mobile phones becomes more apparent as the terrorists use them as essential equipment for getting instructions from their handlers or for passing on information without the fear of getting tracked.

According to security forces, the September 27, 2008 Mehrauli blasts in Delhi, which claimed the lives of three persons, were conducted by these Chinese mobiles.

Currently, an estimated 7 to 8 lakh Chinese phones come into the Indian markets every month. (ANI)

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