What is IMEI, International Mobile Equipment Identity?

What is IMEI number? How can I find out the IMEI number of my cell phone? How can I use IMEI to block a stolen mobile phone?

What is IMEI number?

The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is a number unique to every GSM, WCDMA and iDEN mobile phones.

The IMEI number is used to identify valid devices and can be used to stop a stolen phone from accessing the network. The IMEI is only used to identify the device, and has no permanent or semi-permanent relation to the subscriber.

Concerned over the national security, the Department of Telecommunications in India had already asked operators to disconnect services to handset that does not have an IMEI number. Indian GSM service providers have already said that they would deny connectivity to cellphones without IMEI number.


How can I find out the IMEI number of my cell phone?

The IMEI is also usually printed on the compliance plate under the battery.

It can also be displayed on the screen of the phone by entering *#06# into the keypad.

Retrieving IMEI Information from an older Sony or Sony Ericsson handset can be done by entering these keys: Right * Left Left * Left *

How can I use IMEI to block a stolen mobile phone?

If a mobile phone is stolen, the owner can call the network provider and instruct them to “ban” the phone using its IMEI number. This renders the phone hardware useless, whether or not the phone’s SIM is changed.

When mobile equipment is stolen or lost, the owner contact their local operator with a request that it should be blocked. If the local operator possesses an Equipment Identity Register (EIR), it then will put the device IMEI into it, and can optionally communicate this to the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) which blacklists the device in all other operator switches that use the CEIR. With this blacklisting in place the device become unusable on any operator that uses the CEIR, making theft of mobile equipment a useless business proposition.

Manufacturers of GSM900/1800 / 3GPP WCDMA terminals may obtain IMEI allocations through BABT (British Approvals Board for Telecommunications). The structure of IMEI Number is as below.

TAC – Type Allocation Code Serial Number Check Digit
Reporting Body Identifier Type Identifier defined by BABT Number range allocated by BABT but assigned to individual mobile stations by the manufacturer. Defined as a function of all other digits (calculated by the manufacturer).

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