The GSMA maintains a unique system known as the International Mobile Equipment Identity Database (IMEI DB), which is a global central database containing basic information on the serial number (IMEI) ranges of millions of mobile devices (e.g. mobile phones, laptop data cards, etc.) in use across the globe.

The IMEI is a 15-digit number that is used to identify a device on a mobile network. The mobile industry uses these identifiers to improve operations and deter theft and counterfeit. The GSMA provides access to the IMEI DB to 3GPP network operators, device manufacturers and qualified industry parties. If you require access to this database, please register via the appropriate category below.

User Id
Password

Manufacturer/Brand Owner

The brand owner is required to register with the GSMA before submitting an application for a Type Allocation Code.

Mobile Network Operator (MNO)

3GPP Mobile Network Operators are provided special access to the IMEI DB. To obtain a login, you must first register your company with the GSMA.

Other

Law enforcement and regulatory agencies, equipment recyclers, repair companies, device insurance agencies and other industry affiliates are allowed limited access to the IMEI DB. Please apply here.

NOTICE BOARD

Manufacturer/Brand Owner Notification

Summary of the changes

  • Additional requirements for eUICC on the TAC application form and approval process
  • Process and Requirements for Multi SIM devices
  • Manufacturer (ODM) or design house (IDH) details must now be completed on TAC application form

11 Apr 2018

TAC Edit Field Restrictions

Device details on the TAC allocation application forms are being altered, after applications are processed. In some cases, model names and brand names are changing after devices are shipped. In the interests of the wider community the GSMA have introduced restrictions to the edit fields. See FAQs for more detail.

15 Jan 2018

Other useful documentation

GSMA's IMEI Security Technical Design principles help device brand owners develop a comprehensive security architecture to protect the platform on which the IMEI mechanism is stored.

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TAC Allocation Codes :

Type Allocation Codes (TAC) are used to create International Mobile Equipment Identity numbers (IMEIs) for wireless devices.

The IMEI is a unique 15 digit number and plays an important role in ensuring proper device operation on the network.

The IMEI is defined and required by the GSM standards and is in daily use in networks globally.

GSMA and its appointed Reporting Bodies are the only globally recognized and official source of Type Allocation Code (TAC) for creating IMEIs.

Devices with improper or fraudulent IMEIs can be banned from networks and/or barred from distribution by government authorities. To ensure you receive an official TAC.

TAC Equipment Types

 Mobile / Feature Phone

A mobile device which supports basic personal communication services, e.g. voice call and SMS.

 Smart Phone 

A mobile device with a touch screen display ( measuring less than 5-inch diagonally); a fully-featured OS/platform, which provides voice and data communications capabilities, enables personalization of the device by the user, and in addition, supports installation and maintenance of mobile applications, e.g. downloadable content from an application store.

 Tablet 

A mobile device with a 5-inch or larger (measured diagonally) touch screen display; a fully-featured OS/platform, which provides data communications and/or voice capabilities, enables personalization of the device by the user, and in addition, supports installation and maintenance of mobile applications, e.g. downloadable content from an application store.

 IoT Device 

A device, whose main function is to allow objects to be accessed, sensed and/or controlled remotely across existing mobile network infrastructures.

 Wearable 

A body worn mobile device that connects to the 3GPP cellular network directly with its own eUICC or UICC.It addition it may have none, some or all of the following:

  • A touch screen display

  • Other forms of interaction such as hard or soft buttons

  • Voice controls

  • Sensors built in or connected to the device

  • An OS, which provides voice and/or data communications capabilities on the 3GPP mobile network

  • Other technologies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

  • Enables personalization of the device by the user

  • Supports installation and maintenance of applications, e.g. downloadable content from an application store.

  • Examples of a “Wearable” devices:

  • Smartwatch

  • Heart Monitor

  • Blood Pressure Monitor

  • Blood Pulse monitor

  • Animal Monitoring

  • Body (Arm, Leg, Chest) Sports Monitor

 Dongle 

A mobile device which is inserted into a laptop or other computer to provide cellular network connectivity, via serial, USB or other standardized port interface.

 Modem 

A mobile device which is embedded into other equipment to provide cellular network connectivity.

 WLAN Router 

A mobile device which performs advanced routing functionalities, and uses the cellular network as Wide Area Network interface.

FAQs

I cannot edit the key fields in the TAC application process after we have pressed the 'submit' button, who can help me with this?

Fields for Applicant, Brand and Model name, together with Equipment Type and OEM can only be changed by writing to IMEIhelpdesk@gsma.com, marking in the subject header: TAC Edit Change Request. All applicants applying for a change request need to provide a legitimate business reason for requesting an edit.

Why are new restrictions being placed on previously editable TAC allocation fields?

We have seen an increase in the details of TAC changing, after applications have been processed. This places an unnecessary burden on our appointed Reporting Bodies. At a time when IMEI security and fraud issues are on the increase the GSMA have updated the TAC edit form logic in the interests of the wider community.

Can we change the name of the person who originally completed the TAC Application?

No, once a person has requested a TAC we cannot allow the name to be changed; but you can update the email address associated with this name.

Can either the Brand or the Model name be changed after the TAC certificate has been issued?

No, neither the Brand name or Model name can be changed, corrective typos will be allowed but not fundamental name changes. In circumstances where names have changed this will require a completely new TAC application.

The Equipment Type needs to be changed, will my Reporting Body be able to do this for our company?

Full details of the device, which has the incorrect Equipment Type, along with an explanation as to how the error was made, must be supplied to the Reporting Body. The Reporting Body, in consultation with the GSMA if needed, will then decide if the change can be made.

How can I obtain official TAC from the GSMA?

In order to obtain legitimate TAC, a manufacturer or brand owner should first register their brand via the GSMA  website. Once registered, login credentials are sent to the manufacturer to allow online application for TAC. Online TAC applications are usually issued within 48 hours.

What devices require TAC?

Any device containing GSM cellular access functionality from the GSM family of standards, eg phones, smart phones, modems, dongles, tablets, PCs, must include an IMEI number generated from a GSMA issued TAC code.

How can I obtain official TAC from the GSMA?

Brand owners

  • branding and marketing devices must register with the GSMA and obtain TAC for each different device model
  • subcontracting the manufacture of devices marketed under their brand must register with the GSMA and obtain TAC for each different device model

Manufacturers

  • manufacturing devices under their own brand must register with the GSMA and obtain TAC for each different device model
  • manufacturing devices for another brand do not need to register for TAC as this is the responsibility of the brand owner

What are Type Allocation Codes?

A Type Allocation Code (TAC) is an 8 digit number allocated to 3GPP device manufacturers by the GSMA. Manufacturers use TAC to create a unique identifier for a mobile device known as the International Mobile station Equipment Identity (IMEI). The IMEI is embedded into the device at the time of manufacture. It must be implemented in such a way that it cannot be modified post manufacture. The purpose of the TAC code is to identify the device make and model. As such, different device models require different TAC.

Why are IMEI required for devices?

The purpose of an IMEI is to identify a mobile device make and model. It enables the network operator to accurately identify the device before allowing it to access the network and block stolen devices. Without knowing the device model and capabilities, the network operator cannot ensure proper interaction between the network and device. The device make and model are identified from the TAC component of the IMEI. Different device models require different TAC.

Why is the GSMA allocating TAC?

The GSMA is appointed by the mobile industry as the Global Decimal Administrator (GDA) for 3GPP devices &multi- mode 3GPP/3GPP2 compliant devices. GSMA’s role is to ensure TACs are allocated in compliance with standards, industry agreed practice and worldwide regulatory requirements. GSMA ensure that officially allocated TAC lead to globally unique IMEI which accurately identify devices.

What does the GSMA do with the TAC it allocates?

The TAC, IMEI and corresponding device details are recorded in a common global database called the IMEI database. The recorded TAC details are made available to network operators worldwide, various law enforcement agencies such as Customs and Police as well as other endorsed industry participants.

How does TAC information benefit the industry?

Currently, TAC allocation services ensure

  • Devices can operate globally on mobile networks
  • Efficiency of network operation is maintained
  • Services can be provided to the devices
  • Differentiation between genuine and counterfeit devices is possible
  • Stolen devices can be blocked from the networks
  • Fraudulent insurance claims can be detected
  • Laundering of stolen devices can be prevented

Who can issue legitimate TAC?

Only GSMA appointed Reporting Bodies can provide official and globally recognized TAC. When you register with the GSMA, you will be directed to the appropriate Reporting Body for assistance with obtaining your TAC. Current GSMA Reporting Bodies are:

  • British Approval Board for Telecommunications (BABT)
  • Mobile Standards Alliance India (MSAI)
  • Telecommunications Terminal Testing & Approval Forum (TAF)
  • Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA)
  • Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) - Multi-mode devices only

Can I reuse a TAC from a previous model that is no longer in distribution?

No. Once a device model has been allocated a TAC, it is permanently recorded in the IMEI DB since it is active in the market. Using a TAC from a previous model will render your device inoperable, cause confiscation of your devices by authorities and invite legal action from the wireless industry.

Can I create my own TAC?

No. TAC must uniquely identify a device model and can only be allocated from the central GSMA source. False IMEIs and/or TAC are not permitted by the industry. A false IMEI may render your device inoperable, cause confiscation of your devices by authorities and/or invite legal action from the wireless industry.

Can I create my own IMEI?

You must not implement an IMEI without the use of an officially allocated TAC Once you have been allocated a TAC for your device model, you may generate up to a million IMEI numbers from that TAC and incorporate them into the devices of only that model. A false IMEI may render your device inoperable, cause confiscation of your devices by authorities and/or invite legal action from the wireless industry.

Can I use one TAC for different device models?

No. The purpose of a TAC code is to identify a device model. Therefore the same TAC cannot be used across different device models.