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IMEI info

What is IMEI Number and How it Works? Detailed guide!

We are extremely reliant on our smartphones these days. With so many apps and features all around, you can now almost do anything with a smartphone in your hand. Furthermore, round the clock fast internet also helps us to stay well connected to the rest of the world. Now, most people know these facts. However, did you know about the finer details that go into the making of a smartphone. For example, the IMEI number code on your device, and how important or helpful it can be? If not, then keep reading to find more IMEI info and its various benefits.

What is IMEI number?

Now you are probably pondering the question ‘what is IMEI?’ in your head. In addition, there’s a high chance you have probably heard of this acronym somewhere before. IMEI can be heard a lot in YouTube tech support videos, when you are switching a phone, taking part in a smartphone exchange deal, tech support calls or more. So, what is it?

First thing first, let us start with the full form of the acronym. IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity. It is a 15-digit unique number that helps your phone to be distinguished from any other smartphone in the whole world. As an example, you can consider the IMEI number or IMEI code to be the identity card of your smartphone.

However, you should note that every GSM mobile phone in the world has an IMEI code. On the other hand, CDMA devices have a MEID number.

How does IMEI number work?

If you really want to understand how IMEI works, then now it’s time to dive deeper into it. The GSM networks of your smartphones use the IMEI code to identify which devices are actually valid and which are not. Therefore, it can be quite helpful in finding a device when it has been lost or stolen.

Now, let us say your smartphone has been stolen by someone. In such a case, you can reach out to your mobile network operator and let them know. Your operator will be able to use the IMEI number of your smartphone to blacklist the device. When this happens, your smartphone becomes useless.

Therefore, your smartphone won’t work on that network. In addition, sometimes getting your IMEI code blacklisted also ensures that other operators wouldn’t work on the same device as well. Hence, even if the thieves try to use a different SIM, they won’t be able to use your device.

It is also important to note that devices which don’t have a SIM card slot do not have an IMEI number. Also, IMEI codes are only used to identify the device in particular. Thus, they have no relation to the mobile operator or network that you choose.

IMEI, and how IMEI number tracking is used by the law

Across the world, numerous countries and their legislations support the usage of IMEI number tracking. After all, it can be quite an efficient way to locate criminals, locate your smartphone and more. Let’s take a closer look into how these countries have used IMEI over the years.

United Kingdom

In the UK, it is a punishable offence when you change the device’s IMEI number or if you possess any equipment that has the capability to do so. Furthermore, the UK police forces also check the IMEI numbers of the devices that have been used, while investing upon criminal cases.

A voluntary charter was also opened by the operators in the UK, which communicates that a cell phone has been stolen to the CEIR (Central Equipment Identity Register). After that, CEIR proceeds to blacklist the device within a period of 48 hours.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the Telecommunications Forum Inc. has a service which helps to identify the blocked IMEI numbers. This forum is accessible to the general public. This service allows regular consumers to have 3 free lookups a day. Furthermore, it is regularly maintained by three of the largest network operators in the island country.


In India, you have to first file a police complaint stating that your device has been stolen. Thereafter, the Department of Telecommunication of the Government steps in to ensure that the IMEI number of your device gets blacklisted. Once blacklisted, normal calls, SMS, internet access – nothing can be done.

In other cases, the IMEI number tracking feature can also be used to find out the exact location of a device. That’s why, locating the IMEI number of smartphones has helped the forces to solve a lot of crimes.

Can the Government track my IMEI number?

Well, if you want a short answer to this question, it is a yes. Because, after all, you will have a IMEI number with every smartphone. And without one, you won’t be able to make calls, send SMS, access mobile data internet. Therefore, not having an IMEI number on your smartphone is not a solution.

But there’s more to it. If the Government is unable to attach a name or a face to your IMEI number, then there is no way to identify to whom the device actually belongs to. Anyone can end up saying that it is their smartphone. That’s why, there is legislation in place which ensures that you have to get a photo identity verification whenever you are purchasing a SIM.

In addition, even hackers can end up tracking your smartphone with your IMEI code. However, you need not get scared at this. The main reason here is that it takes an immense surveillance operation to track down your SIM card. Hence, if you are a common man going about your daily activities, there should be no worries. You are quite safe.

However, as an advantage, it is also helpful when your device is stolen or lost. In case your previous phone number has been blacklisted, then you can go through some Airtel postpaid plans and choose the best plan that suits you best. Airtel Postpaid has a variety of plans for you, with lots of additional benefits and extra advantages.