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Trai bid to prevent misuse of lost phone

New Delhi, Nov. 20 (PTI): The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is likely to come out with the final recommendations on blocking lost and stolen mobile phones by December to put an end to the misuse of stored data and personal information.

The initiative is part of the regulator’s efforts to crack down on the illegal handset market and discourage the rampant theft of handsets, a senior Trai official said.

“It (recommendations) was likely to come by the end of this month, but we have come across some problems with regard to duplicate international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) numbers in mobile handsets available in the market, which is difficult to track. We are discussing it internally ... it will take time, maybe by the end of this year,” a source in Trai said.

The IMEI is a unique serial number that identifies the handset. It is stored in the equipment identity register database of the service provider.

Last year, the telecom regulator had sought comments from stakeholders, including operators, to find ways to block lost or stolen mobile phones.

At present, there is no mechanism to block a lost mobile. The service providers can only block the SIM card.

Trai is revisiting the issue after an attempt in 2004 made no headway because a number of telecom networks did not have the capability to track handsets.

The regulator is working on the final guidelines on consumer complaint redressal, which are likely to be out within three to four weeks.

In July, Trai had come out with draft regulations under a consumer protection and redressal framework to protect the interest of users, which had stressed on the timely redressal of problems.

Recently, Trai put an end to pesky calls from telemarketers through strict regulations.

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