More than 25 million Indian phone users have had their
gear blocked in a bid to tighten security in the continent.
The Chinese-made mobile phones do not have an
identification number allowing calls to be traced. Coms companies have been told to refuse calls that do not
have a 15-digit International Mobile Equipment Identification (IMEI) number. The IMEI number helps identify all calls received and
made on a phone and provides information on the manufacturer and type of
handset. The IMEI is automatically registered with service providers when they
are first activated.
Users can manually register their phone with their
service provider and buy an IMEI for 199 rupees ($4). The main problem is that the phones are cheap and popular
in India and there could be a lot of people miffed that their phones have been
The Indians are not big fans of Chinese gear. India's
intelligence agencies have warned that Chinese products could have embedded elements
enabling China to launch a cyber attack or shut down the equipment. There are more than 500 million mobile users in India.