IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a 15-digit, unique number assigned to each GSM device that identifies it. Usually, manufacturers put the IMEI in the battery compartment and on the original packaging of the device, but you can also successfully get it by entering the code *#06# on the phone’s keyboard, or by entering the system settings menu.

We have already written about all the ways to get an IMEI number in the articles: How to find the IMEI number? and How to find an IMEI number without a phone? Devices that do not have a SIM card also do not have an IMEI number. Thus, the IMEI number only identifies the device and has no relation to the subscriber.

What is the legal meaning of the IMEI number?

In many countries, IMEI is used to minimize the effects of the theft of mobile devices. It is considered a criminal offense to change the IMEI number or the device that modifies this unique number. Blocking the IMEI number is one of several methods of fighting the theft, as a result of such circumstances, mobile operators immediately suspend the provision of services and issue a duplicate SIM card in the event of its loss or the previously mentioned theft. The IMEI that has been reported as lost, registers on the so-called Blacklist, and the device identified with it is devoid of mobile services, so it is not possible to use connections, send text messages or connect to the Internet. The first country to start blocking IMEI numbers was Australia in 2003.

What is the IMEI structure?

IMEI (15-digits code: 14 digits plus a check digit) contains information about the origin, model, and a serial number of the device. The IMEI is in the following format AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-D:

  • AA: This is the identifier of the reporting unit, reflects the GSMA approved group that assigned the TAC.
  • BBBBBB: It is called FAC number, which is the remainder of the TAC included in AA.
  • CCCCCC: This is a serial sequence model (SNR)
  • D: It is an algorithm that checks the serial number (CD), the so-called Luhn check digit, usually 0, but may be different.

If you want to find out the differences between Clean IMEI and Bad IMEI check our articles.