To prevent misuse of lost or stolen smartphones in India, the government has taken a bold step. From January 1, 2023, all mobile phone manufacturers are required to register the IMEI number of each handset manufactured in India with the Indian Counterfeit Devices Portal ( before the first sale of a newly launched mobile phone.

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Earlier reports indicated that lakhs of smartphones and feature phones in India are coming with fake IMEI numbers or even duplicate IMEI numbers. Also, it is easy to buy copies of popular phones in India, which mostly come from China. The new rule aims to ensure that all mobile phones sold in India have a legitimate, digitally traceable IMEI number. For citizens, the new process will help users lock their smartphones or additional phones if lost or stolen, so they can’t be misused. It is also expected to stop the black marketing of smartphones in India.

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As a reminder, back in June 2020, the Meerut police discovered that 13,500 Vivo smartphones had the same IMEI number. And this is not an isolated incident or the same case. It is reported that there have been similar incidents with other Chinese brands in the past.

This rule will be applicable even for imported smartphones and not only for Made-In India phones such as high-end iPhones, Samsung Galaxy smartphones and others.

“The International Mobile Equipment Identification Number of a mobile phone imported into India for sale, testing, research or any other purpose shall be registered by the importer on the Counterfeit Devices India Portal ( of the Government of India with the Department of telecommunications before importing a mobile phone into the country,” the government said in a statement.

For those who don’t know, note that the IMEI number is unique and is used to track criminals. While the SIM card can be changed or destroyed, the IMEI number is hard-coded, making it easier for law enforcement agencies to fight crime.

If you are buying a used mobile phone or a new handset anywhere, always check if the device has an IMEI number. Any device without an IMEI number is a fake and you should avoid buying it. To check IMEI number, just dial *#06# to get details. Dual SIM smartphones will have two unique IMEI numbers.

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What is the Counterfeit Device Restriction System (ICDR)?

In 2021, the government introduced the Indian Counterfeit Device Restriction (ICDR) system to issue IMEI certificates for importing mobile devices through various customs ports.

The new system is already operational from January 1, 2020. The new system can be accessed through the web portal for registration and generation of IMEI certificates. There is currently no charge for registration and generation of IMEI certificates through this web portal.

“The new system has replaced the old IMEI cloning and duplication restriction system that was managed and maintained by the Mobile Standard Alliance of India (MSAI). Therefore, MSAI is not authorized to register, generate or issue IMEI certificates,” the government said.

The government has also said that IMEI certificates obtained/generated/issued through any other sources are illegal and legal action will be taken. The government has not authorized/appointed any agent or third party to assist the applicant in the process of registration and generation of IMEI certificate through the above web portal,” the notification added.

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