Software developed to embed security code in handsets

May 4th, 2009 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 4 (IANS) Over 2.5 crore owners of cheap handsets, that stood to be banned in India as these did not have the regulatory unique 15-digit identity code, can breathe a sigh of relief — help is on the way.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the organisation representing GSM service operators, Monday said it has developed a software that can embed the code - known as International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) - in these handsets.

COAI in collaboration with handset body Mobile Standard Alliance of India (MSAI) has developed the software.

“After getting clearance from DoT (Department of Telecommunications) and security agencies, the programme has been started today,” COAI said in a statement.

The software would meet the requirements of security agencies by helping them trace subscribers if needed.

“These numbers have been obtained from GSMA, the only global body which allocates genuine IMEI numbers to official bodies,” the statement said.

“We believe that most of these handsets are owned by common men… So, it would be unfair and unjust to disconnect such customers as they have bought these handsets unknowingly,” COAI director general T.V. Ramachandran said.

DoT had earlier directed the telephone operators to disconnect services to handsets that did not have the IMEI code, raising security issues.

IMEI helps authorities identify the handset used to make a call on the GSM network, while the electronic serial number (ESN) is used for the CDMA network.

The government made the security code compulsory after investigating agencies found that terrorists had been using non-IMEI mobile phones for their communications.

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