A new portal has been launched in Mumbai by Minister of Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad (press information) that will help mobile phone owners trace their lost or stolen phones. The new Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) is an undertaking by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
The new tracking system will make use of industry-standard International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) tracking. IMEI numbers are reprogrammable which can make tracking the stolen devices difficult. To discourage miscreants from reprogramming IMEI numbers, cloned IMEI handsets will be blocked rendering them unusable.
Launched Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) in Mumbai. This will enabled blocking of lost or stolen mobile phone using their IMEI number based on the police complaint. Presently this service is being rolled out for the users in Maharashtra on pilot basis. pic.twitter.com/X3VfX4zY9S
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) September 13, 2019
Stolen IMEI numbers are not only used to reprogram stolen devices, but they are also used in counterfeit phones. By reporting stolen or lost IMEI numbers, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will be able to crack down on counterfeit devices as well. There are severe health risks users of counterfeit devices expose themselves to and using them is not recommended. By eliminating counterfeit and stolen devices from cellular networks, it will lead to an improvement in Quality of Service (QoS) and a reduction in the number of call drops experienced by mobile users in the country.
How to Trace A Lost or Stolen Phone?
If you lose your phone, you need to file a First Information Report (FIR) with the nearest police station. Once you receive an FIR number you need to contact the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for a verification process. To access the DoT portal, dial 14422. Upon verification of your details, DoT will blacklist your stolen device and prevent it from being used.
If the stolen device has a new SIM card installed, the respective service provider will inform the police about any user activity. Upon receiving intimation from the service providers, the police will take appropriate action to retrieve the stolen device. The new service is being rolled out in Maharashtra and expansion to other states of India has not been confirmed just yet.
DoT has been working on the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) for the past two years and has access to all IMEI numbers in India. The department will also get access to all international IMEI numbers from the GSMA to detect phones with counterfeit IMEI numbers from other countries.