India Blocks Millions of Phones

Indian security services have decided cellular phones lacking a special code will be blocked from use. Millions are affected.

Malkah Fleisher, | updated: 10:58

Cell phone in use
Cell phone in use
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (Calebrw)

Indian security services have determined that cellular phones not containing a special code when making calls were used in every recent organized militant attack, and the country has decided to block all cell phone devices without the codes.

The absence of the code creates an inability to place the caller or the phone or to determine the details of the conversation.

The BBC reported the decision Tuesday, and cellular service companies were requested to block all the calls to those numbers "on suspicion of increasing terror attacks."

According to estimates, India has about 25 million mobile devices without the required code, with approximately 30 percent of devices sold today lacking it. Phones without a code, or with numbers that are invalid, are significantly cheaper than other devices. Many of these devices are imported from China or manufactured locally.

Many subscribers argue that they are being punished unfairly, saying they were not aware that their phones did not contain the proper security code. The Association of Cellular Network Operators in India asked the government to extend the deadline of blocking these numbers so they can install new codes in relevant phones.

In India there are more than 488 million cell phone subscribers. Every month, millions of new users are added to the list, making India considered the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world.