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Soon, unbranded mobile phones to go dead
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CHENNAI: With the Department of Telecom (DoT) deadline for disconnecting services to the unbranded Chinese mobiles that do not have IMEI(International Mobile Equipment Identity) number coming to an end on April 15, the cellular service providers have started sending SMSs to their subscribers asking them to do away with these mobiles.

According to a BSNL senior official, their company has already kick-started the process of identifying unbranded Chinese mobiles. “In the recent past, we undertook a random check looking out for such fake mobiles used by the BSNL subscribers. However, it was found that only a very marginal section of people were using it,” he said and added, “In case if we come across the operation of the Chinese cell phones in the next couple of days, services would be disconnected immediately.”

BSNL has a subscriber base of about 10 lakh in the Chennai circle, besides 35 lakh in the rest of the State, the official said.

According to data available in the official website of Cellular Operators Association of India, there are a total number of 2,15,91,654 mobile phone connections in TN, out of which Chennai metro alone has 71,58,207 subscribers till February 2009.

Moreover, a considerable number of them are using Chinese mobile phones, as the instrument looks more fancy, with numerous audio, video and camera features, available at a cheap price. These mobiles, however, show up as a series of zeroes at cell towers due to their cloned IMEI number.

But, according to law, all GSM phones are required to have a unique IMEI number that gets reflected at cell phone towers with which, if required, the location of a mobile phone user can be tracked.

CBI indicated the security risk involved in using these cell phones to the Union Home Ministry, which then took up the issue with DoT. Later, DoT instructed all service providers in the country to disconnect phones without IMEI numbers.

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