We missed this earlier: The Department of Telecommunications took over the issuing and management of IMEI allocation for mobile phones in January, PTI had reported. The process was earlier managed by Mobile Standard Alliance of India (MSAI), the erstwhile Indian reporting body of global industry body Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA).

The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is that unique serial number assigned to each mobile phone — both feature and smart. It is allocated by GSMA and organisations authorised by it.

In India, instead of MSAI, a new system called Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction (ICDR) system, that has been developed by DoT’s R&D unit, Centre for Development of Telematics, will manage the allocation of IMEI numbers. DoT had communicated this to industry bodies and concerned government departments in a letter dated January 28, 2020, as per the PTI report. In 2015, the DoT had banned the import of phones with duplicate IMEI numbers, the report pointed out.

The system was operationalised on a pilot basis through the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR), which is used to block all services on stolen and lost mobile phones on any network. We have reached out to MSAI for an update on the transfer and allocation.