Nearly two crore mobile phones without unique identification numbers will go out of service from Monday midnight, with government deadline to operators to block calls to such devices on security concerns expiring.
A senior government official said, "We are not extending the deadline (of November 30). We have asked the operators not to process the calls passing through those phones without the IMEI number from Monday."
The 15-digit International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number helps security agencies trace calls made from and received on handsets.
T R Dua, acting director general of COAI, said "According to our estimate there are about 1.8-2 crore handsets which are without the IMEI numbers. We had asked for extension of the deadline and since, that has not been done, we will adhere to the the given deadline."
T V Ramachandran, Director of second largest mobile operator Vodafone Essar, said, "The move will cause several crores of losses to the operators but for the national interest the directive has to be followed."
According to an analyst, the overall loss to the industry will be Rs 100 crores.
Despite requests from the GSM mobile operators lobby Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and the operators themselves, the government is sticking to its deadline. PTI