What is IMEI number and it’s structure? What is the Purpose of an IMEI number?

What is IMEI number? Most of you are well aware of this term and how to find it for your devices. Right! these unique numbers are typically associated with your phones. But would you know what is the purpose of the IMEI number and why is it used for? Here in this post we will explain everything associated with the IMEI number of the mobile phones. Lets start with the very first and usual question:


What is IMEI number?

The IMEI – International Mobile Equipment Identity – is a number, unique for different devices, used to identify a device that uses cellular networks (i.e., GSM, UMTS and LTE). The IMEI number is used by a network to identify valid devices. There are many ways to identify the IMEI number of your device, it is usually found printed inside the battery compartment of the phone, also on the retail box of the device. All the mobile phones, 3G/4G smartphones/tablets, laptops with PCMCIA wireless internet cards, and iDEN mobile phones, as well as some satellite phones are also tagged with these numbers. If you have a dual-SIM phone, your phone will have two IMEI numbers, one for each SIM slot.

The IMEI is only used for identifying the device and is locked to the device only. It has has no relation to the SIM card and to the subscriber. If a device don’t have an IMEI number, that meant to be illegal device.


What is the Structure of the IMEI Number?

The IMEI number includes information on the origin, model, and serial number of the device. It has 15 decimal digits – 14 digits plus a check digit – or IMEI/SV with 16 digits (SV stands for software version, usually appears on new devices). The initial 8 digit portion is known as the Type Allocation Code (TAC) for the model and origin identifications. The remainder of the IMEI is manufacturer-defined, with a Luhn check digit at the end used for verifying the entire string. The format of the IMEI is AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-D and the IMEI/SV drops the Luhn check digit in favor of an additional two digits for the Software Version Number (SVN), making the format AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-EE. Although the IMEI number on your device does not appear with the dash symbol (-) between the digits.

What is the Purpose for an IMEI number?


The main purpose of the IMEI number is to identify the mobile device and to prevent theft. If your phone is stolen, the IMEI number can be used to block phone from accessing the cellular network. All one need to do is to call his or her network provider and instruct them to “blacklist” the phone using its IMEI number and they will block the device from their network. That means, a thief cannot just change the SIM card on a phone and expect to use it. IMEI numbers are hard-coded into device hardware that makes it nearly impossible to change. Later on, the network provider tells other cellular networks to do the same.

What not to do with your IMEI number?

Although, it is almost impossible for someone to change the existing IMEI number of a mobile device. However, this is not always the case: a phone’s IMEI may be easy to change with special tools. In certain regions changing the IMEI number is illegal. Thieves can attempt to take non-blacklisted numbers and apply them to their stolen devices in order to make them usable again. So, It is highly recommended that you never share your IMEI or post it online. Because it can be used for cloning your device for illegal use.

The IMEI numbers are the unique identifier for any mobile device. You should make a record of it in case if your device is stolen or misplaced, it can be helpful to block the device for any further use.


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