In a growing number of countries, operators allow consumers to report a mobile phone or device as lost or stolen using the device’s unique identity number, the IMEI. The operator can then block the phone from their mobile network, which is called IMEI blacklisting.
The blacklisted IMEIs are provided to the GSMA central IMEI Database allowing operators to exchange data and to block devices on multiple networks nationally and internationally. GSMA Device Check is a product that shares this data to approved partners, including retailers, insurers, recyclers and law enforcement agencies.
The GSMA maintains a unique system known as the International Mobile Equipment Identity Database (IMEI Db), which is a global central database containing basic information on the serial number (IMEI) ranges of millions of mobile devices (e.g. mobile phones, laptop data cards, etc.) that are in use across the world’s mobile networks. The IMEI is a 15-digit number that is used to identify a device on a mobile network.
The GSMA allocates official IMEI number ranges to all manufacturers of 3GPP compliant devices and records these ranges and device model information in the GSMA IMEI Db. The information recorded includes the manufacturer and model name of the device and its main network capabilities (e.g. frequency bands, radio interfaces and device types).