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DoT tightens screw on Telecos on IMEI issue
Published on 16 Jan. 2009 11:57 PM IST
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Angered by the telecos that did not respond to the directions for installing equipment identification registers or EIRs, the Government of India's Department of Telecom has issued stricter warnings and has extended the deadline to April 15. Fuming, after Telecos ignored January 6 deadline to bar cell phones with no IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers or invalid ones, the DoT has issued strong warnings to the telecom operators that if they fail to install systems that can ban calls on IMEI number-free handsets, within the new deadline, they will not be permitted to enroll any new subscribers after the expiry of the deadline. DoT has warned that the telecom firms, not adhering to its directives, will have to pay financial penalty. Currently, the telecos that did not react to the DoT's directive will pay a daily fine till the new deadline. The warning states that the financial penalty, which include "per-day fine," will be doubled after every 15 days till 15 April. Several telecom firms, including MTNL, Reliance Communications, Bharti Airtel, BSNL and Tata Teleservices have communicated to the DoT that they are installing the EIRs. DoT official said, "The long list of operators including Idea, Vodafone, HFCL, Shyam, BPL, Spice, Aircel and Dishnet have not yet sent any information of their compliance, a notice needs to be sent." According to a Market report, currently 25 million Indian users are using cheap non-branded Chinese cell phones, without IMEI numbers, which are the 16 digit code that comes equipped with every branded mobile handset and is used to locate the handset on the operator's network. Canceling the handsets without IMEI numbers would affect 1% of the handsets in use in India. DoT's move is aimed to put a check on the terror activities and other security risks with the help of IMEI numbers.

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