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Indian government stamps out fraud handsets

Carol Ko | Nov. 19, 2008
Mobile operators in India are mandated to install specialist security technology to block handsets with invalid identification numbers.

HONG KONG, 18 NOVEMBER 2008 The Indian department of telecommunications has made telecom companies block calls made from handsets which do not have valid and traceable equipment identity numbers.

The Department of Telecommunications (DOT) branch of the Indian government has mandated that all mobile operators to set up and activate equipment identity registers (EIR) which contain a database of all valid mobile equipment on the network, inventoried by their international mobile equipment identification (IMEI) number, within a three-month timeframe.

Using an EIR, mobile operators are able to track and log all valid equipment and block handsets with invalid or missing IMEIs from operating on the network.

Due to their untraceable nature, phones that are missing or have invalid IMEI's are often used in criminal activities that could threaten national security and place subscribers at risk. In many regions, government bodies also test the efficiency and performance of installed EIRs, measuring how quickly and accurately they can detect, log and block stolen or fraudulent handsets from the network.

According to the Communications Fraud Control Association, fraud losses range from US$54.4 billion to US$60 billion a year, and this cost is in addition to the negative impact fraud can have on the use of new services and the intangible cost of damage to the mobile operator's brand.

US-based EIR system provider Airwide has helped more than 50 operators worldwide control the increasing threat of fraudulent and untraceable mobile phone activity, comply with government requirements for the implementation of EIR technology, and to battle handset theft and fraud on operator networks.


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