When it comes to popular smartphone companies, Vivo shares space in the Indian market with other Chinese smartphone makers. Since its launch in India, the brand has managed to become one of the leading companies in the region. As of the first quarter of 2020, Vivo has a 17% share in the Indian smartphone market. In addition, it managed to increase YoY by 40% in the same quarter thanks to the Y-series budget series. Even with such a YoY development, Vivo managed to fall under the radar of a huge controversy.
More than 13,500 Vivo smartphones reported using the same IMEI number: Cyber Cell
It appears that over 13,500 Vivo smartphones have been found to use exactly the same IMEI number in India. For those who do not know, the IMEI (or International Mobile Equipment Identity) number is a unique 15-digit code that allows us to distinguish between many devices by entering the SIM card.
As you may have already guessed, no two or more devices should have the same IMEI number. This breach makes it difficult for the relevant authority to detect and identify stolen devices. The issue arose when the police officer received a different smartphone from a Delhi service center in September 2019. Even after the repair, the device had a system error and so he then gave it to a Cyber Cell staff member. .
After an inspection, Cyber Cell found that the IMEI number of the device has changed. Since then, the Meerut police Cyber Cell team has managed to find more than 13,500 Vivo smartphones with the same IMEI number. These findings make it a serious security issue, as violating the IMEI will make it difficult for police to track criminals.
Having said that, the respective authorities sent an official notice to the key officer of Vivo India, Harmanjit Singh, in accordance with Section 91 of the CPC, ie the Code of Criminal Procedure. So far, Vivo has not commented on the matter, but we expect to hear from the brand soon.
IMEI violation? This is not the first time in India
Well, this is not the first time we have heard of such a thing. In 2012, a similar incident came to light where 18,000 phones use the same IMEI numbers. In 2017, the Indian government committed the IMEI violation as a criminal offense punishable by three years in prison. A similar case, but on a massive scale, was found in November 2019. More than one million stolen cell phones were reported to use the same IMEI numbers by the police.