TAC Allocation

TAC is the mobile industry’s only device identification system, which tracks all connected device types. Find out how to get an official TAC and make an IMEI here.

Need to apply for TAC?

3GPP requires all device types that can connect to a mobile wireless network to be identifiable by a Type Allocation Code (TAC), including IoT devices, payment terminals and connected vehicles. Crucially, it’s the 8-digit number that forms the first part of the 15-digit IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity), which uniquely identifies each individual connected device, so they can be transported around the world.  

TAC / IMEI also helps enable governments to collect the correct taxes, devices to operate globally on mobile networks, and the identification of counterfeit or stolen devices.

Registering for the first time?

Please use the button below to start the process. As there are strict rules governing TAC allocation, we suggest you also download our training modules here.

Who provides TAC?

Only the GSMA is authorised by 3GPP to allocate TAC for all GSM mobile device identities globally, through our appointed reporting bodies. We make sure it’s allocated in compliance with standards, industry agreed practice and worldwide regulatory requirements.

Learn more in our FAQs. 

TAC allocation that benefits all

The GSMA ensures the integrity, efficiency and effectiveness of TAC allocation, so multiple stakeholders can rely on the data to accurately identify devices.

Creating one global source

As the body authorised by 3GPP to allocate TAC globally, the GSMA is the single source of truth for all device TAC data. 

Facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration

Important rules agreed by the ecosystem govern TAC allocation, as it is vital that the integrity of TAC and IMEI are not compromised.

Seamless interoperability

Operators need to identify devices on their networks to deliver the best customer experience and access to services.

Providing dynamic TAC management

The GSMA continually invests to enable the ecosystem to complete and maintain TAC details through a variety of web tools.

Variable payment terms

There is the option of a standard fee plan or an unmetered subscription plan, to cater for different needs.

Developing a standardised template

There is a standardised template for band performance values, making the data easier to interpret.


How to get TAC / TAC generation

Manufacturers and brand owners – register your brand on the GSMA website. Then login credentials will be sent to the manufacturer to allow online application for TAC. Online TAC applications are usually issued within 48 hours, subject to payment.

What devices need TAC?

Any device containing GSM cellular access functionality from the GSM family of standards, e.g., phones, smartphones, modems, dongles, tablets, PCs, IoT devices, payment terminals and vehicles. All must include an IMEI number generated from a GSMA-issued TAC code.

What are Type Allocation Codes?

A Type Allocation Code (TAC) is an 8-digit number for 3GPP devices that identifies the make and model – which is why different device models require different TAC. Manufacturers use TAC to create a unique number that identifies individual mobile devices, known as the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI). The IMEI is embedded into the device at the time of manufacture so it cannot be modified.

Why do you need an IMEI?

The purpose of an IMEI number is to identify a specific mobile device, not just its make and model. Crucially, it enables the network operator to accurately identify the device before allowing it to access the network. Without knowing the model and its capabilities, including band profiles, proper interaction between the network and device can’t be ensured. The device make and model are identified from the TAC component of the IMEI

How to generate or create an IMEI

First, you need a TAC number, as you can’t create an IMEI without one. So, register for a TAC Allocation account with the GSMA, then apply for a TAC code. If you are entirely new to the process, we strongly advise you to download and read our TAC Training Modules here.

Why is the GSMA allocating TAC?

The mobile industry appointed the GSMA as the Global Decimal Administrator (GDA) for 3GPP devices and multi-mode 3GPP/3GPP2 compliant devices. The GSMA’s role is to ensure TAC are allocated in compliance with standards, industry agreed practice and worldwide regulatory requirements.

How does TAC information benefit the industry?

  • Enables devices to operate globally on mobile networks
  • Maintains efficient network operations 
  • Enables devices to provide services 
  • Allows identification of counterfeit and stolen devices, so fraudulent insurance claims and laundering can be prevented

Who provides Type Allocation Codes?

Only GSMA-appointed reporting bodies can review and approve TAC applications in support of the scheme’s rules. Current GSMA reporting bodies are:

  • TuV SuD formally (BABT)
  • Telecommunications Terminal Testing & Approval Forum (TAF)
  • Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA)
  • Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) – multi-mode devices only

Who provides IMEI?

After obtaining a TAC from the GSMA, it is the TAC holder’s responsibility to generate the remaining digits to complete the unique IMEI number every mobile device requires. GSMA Training Module One details the rules as outlined in GSMA PRD TS.06.

Can I create my own TAC?

No. TAC must uniquely identify a device model and can only be allocated from the central GSMA source. False TAC and/or IMEIs 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.

Can I create my own IMEI?

You must not implement an IMEI without the use of an officially allocated TAC from the GSMA. 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 that model only. A false IMEI may render your device inoperable, cause confiscation of your devices by authorities and/or invite legal action from the wireless industry.

Can I use one TAC for different device models?

No. The purpose of a TAC code is to identify a device model. Therefore, the same TAC cannot be used for different device models.

Can I reuse a TAC from a previous model that is no longer in distribution?

No. Once a device model has been allocated a TAC, it is permanently recorded in the GSMA Device Database while 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.

Can I change the brand or model name after the TAC certificate has been issued?

No, neither the brand name nor model name can be changed – correcting typos is allowed but not fundamental name changes. In circumstances where a name change is required, a completely new TAC application is necessary.

What is the Terminal Steering Group?

The GSMA’s Terminal Steering Group is made up of mobile network operators and device manufacturers from around the world. Together, they maintain and manage the rules for TAC allocation.


Working group documents and product information 


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Register your interest

Please get in touch if you need more information, would like to book a meeting, have a product demo or want to talk to us about your particular use case.