Vivo was recently in the news in India for toppling Samsung to become the second largest smartphone brand in the country. Now, the company finds itself in a fix as over 13,500 Vivo phones in the country are alleged of sharing the same IEMI number. According to reports, Vivo has been issued a notice and a case has been filed against the Chinese smartphone company. Vivo has not responded in matter until the time of writing.
Every mobile phone manufactured is expected to have a separate International Mobile Equipment Identity or IEMI number. For a layman, this number may not have much significance, but it comes in handy for the security agencies to track and trace a lost phone or even a criminal in many cases. According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) guidelines, every mobile phone sold in the country should have a different IEMI number.
The issue was brought to light when a Sub Inspector from Meerut police in Uttar Pradesh, India received his phone back from Vivo store after repair and found that the IEMI number on the phone was different from that on the box of the device. Further investigation by the Meerut Cybercrime cell (which was notified when the Sub Inspector was not satisfied with Vivo’s response) revealed that as many as 13,557 Vivo smartphones operational across five States in the country were sharing the same IEMI number.
Considering this a threat to the internal security of the country, police have filed a case under Section 420 of the IPC and issued Vivo a notice. The smartphone manufacturer has not issued any statement in the matter as of yet. If Vivo is found guilty of using same IEMI number is different handsets, the company could be staring at a case of fraud. As per TRAI, any form of manipulation or tampering with IEMI number can lead to three-year term in jail.