When it comes to popular smartphone companies, Vivo shares the space in the Indian market along with other Chinese smartphone makers. Since its foray in India, the brand has managed to become one of the top companies in the region. As of 2020 Q1, Vivo has a share of 17% in the Indian smartphone market. Furthermore, it managed to grow 40% YoY in the same quarter thanks to the budget Y-series lineup. Even with such YoY growth, Vivo has managed to fall under the radar of a massive controversy.
Over 13,500 Vivo smartphones reported running same IMEI number: Cyber Cell
It looks like over 13,500 Vivo smartphones found running the exact same IMEI number in India. For those who’re unaware, IMEI number (or International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a unique 15-digit code allowing us to differentiate between multiple devices with the SIM card input.
As you might have guessed already, no two or more devices should have the same IMEI number. This tampering makes it hard for the respective authority to track and identify the stolen devices. The matter surfaced when police personnel received a different smartphone from a Delhi service centre in September 2019. Even after the repair, the device was throwing system error which is why he then gave it to a staff member of Cyber Cell.
After an inspection, Cyber Cell found that the IMEI number of the device has been changed. Since then, the Cyber Cell team of Meerut police has managed to find over 13,500 Vivo smartphones having the same IMEI number. These findings make it a serious security issue since IMEI tampering will make it hard for the police to intercept the criminals.
With that said, the respective authorities have sent a formal notice to Vivo India’s nodal officer Harmanjit Singh under Section 91 of the CrPC i.e. Code of Criminal Procedure. As of now, Vivo hasn’t commented on the matter but we are expecting to hear from the brand soon.
IMEI tampering? Not the first time in India
Well, this is not the first time we’re hearing about something like this. Back in 2012, a similar incident came to the light where 18,000 phones were running the same IMEI numbers. In 2017, the Indian government made tampering with IMEI a punishable offence with three years’ jail term. A similar case but on a massive scale was found back in November 2019. More than one lakh stolen mobile phones were reported running same IMEI numbers by the police department.