Govt bans import of CDMA mobile phones without unique numbers

Govt bans import of CDMA mobile phones without unique numbers

"Import of ‘CDMA mobile phones’ without Electronic Serial Number(ESN)/Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID) or with all Zeroes as ESN / MEID is prohibited with immediate effect," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.

There are about 100 million CDMA subscribers in India and around 5.8 million users are being added per month, according to the industry.
India imports most of the CDMA phones from China and Thailand.

A CDMA operator said that CDMA phones are bundled with operators which do have all the necessary unique numbers but those available in the open market do not carry any ESN and MEID number.

Concerns were raised over usage of such phones after terrorist attacks like the one in Mumbai in November last year and these devices are seen as a serious threat to security.
These numbers are displayed below the battery or on the back of the mobile handset.

The numbers are used as a means to facilitate mobile equipment identification and tracking.
ESN is mainly used in CDMA-based technology phones, compared to IMEI numbers used by all GSM phones.
Earlier in June, the government had banned import of mobile phones that lack unique IMEI identification number for GSM players. IMEI is a 15-digit code which tracks the network of a call made through GSM services.