In order to obtain legitimate TAC, a manufacturer or brand owner should first register their brand via the GSMA website. Once registered, login credentials are sent to the manufacturer to allow online application for TAC. Online TAC applications are usually issued within 48 hours.
Any device containing GSM cellular access functionality from the GSM family of standards, eg phones, smart phones, modems, dongles, tablets, PCs, must include an IMEI number generated from a GSMA issued TAC code.
- branding and marketing devices must register with the GSMA and obtain TAC for each different device model
- subcontracting the manufacture of devices marketed under their brand must register with the GSMA and obtain TAC for each different device model
- manufacturing devices under their own brand must register with the GSMA and obtain TAC for each different device model
- manufacturing devices for another brand do not need to register for TAC as this is the responsibility of the brand owner
A Type Allocation Code (TAC) is an 8 digit number allocated to 3GPP device manufacturers by the GSMA. Manufacturers use TAC to create a unique identifier for a mobile device known as the International Mobile station Equipment Identity (IMEI). The IMEI is embedded into the device at the time of manufacture. It must be implemented in such a way that it cannot be modified post manufacture. The purpose of the TAC code is to identify the device make and model. As such, different device models require different TAC.
The purpose of an IMEI is to identify a mobile device make and model. It enables the network operator to accurately identify the device before allowing it to access the network and block stolen devices. Without knowing the device model and capabilities, the network operator cannot ensure proper interaction between the network and device. The device make and model are identified from the TAC component of the IMEI. Different device models require different TAC.
The GSMA is appointed by the mobile industry as the Global Decimal Administrator (GDA) for 3GPP devices &multi- mode 3GPP/3GPP2 compliant devices. GSMA’s role is to ensure TACs are allocated in compliance with standards, industry agreed practice and worldwide regulatory requirements. GSMA ensure that officially allocated TAC lead to globally unique IMEI which accurately identify devices.
The TAC, IMEI and corresponding device details are recorded in a common global database called the IMEI database. The recorded TAC details are made available to network operators worldwide, various law enforcement agencies such as Customs and Police as well as other endorsed industry participants.
Currently, TAC allocation services ensure
- Devices can operate globally on mobile networks
- Efficiency of network operation is maintained
- Services can be provided to the devices
- Differentiation between genuine and counterfeit devices is possible
- Stolen devices can be blocked from the networks
- Fraudulent insurance claims can be detected
- Laundering of stolen devices can be prevented
Only GSMA appointed Reporting Bodies can provide official and globally recognized TAC. When you register with the GSMA, you will be directed to the appropriate Reporting Body for assistance with obtaining your TAC. Current GSMA Reporting Bodies are:
- British Approval Board for Telecommunications (BABT)
- Mobile Standards Alliance India (MSAI)
- Telecommunications Terminal Testing & Approval Forum (TAF)
- Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA)
- Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) - Multi-mode devices only
No. Once a device model has been allocated a TAC, it is permanently recorded in the IMEI DB since it is active in the market. Using a TAC from a previous model will render your device inoperable, cause confiscation of your devices by authorities and invite legal action from the wireless industry.
No. TAC must uniquely identify a device model and can only be allocated from the central GSMA source. False IMEIs and/or TAC are not permitted by the industry. A false IMEI may render your device inoperable, cause confiscation of your devices by authorities and/or invite legal action from the wireless industry.
You must not implement an IMEI without the use of an officially allocated TAC Once you have been allocated a TAC for your device model, you may generate up to a million IMEI numbers from that TAC and incorporate them into the devices of only that model. A false IMEI may render your device inoperable, cause confiscation of your devices by authorities and/or invite legal action from the wireless industry.
No. The purpose of a TAC code is to identify a device model. Therefore the same TAC cannot be used across different device models.