The GSMA’s role as the global decimal administrator for TAC is to encourage and promote TAC / IMEI best practise through improved training and education across all stakeholders. However we and other stakeholders in the TAC / IMEI ecosystem have seen a rise in non-compliant TAC / IMEI in some key markets. This is a source of frustration not just for the GSMA but also local governments and manufacturers across the world.
The increase in cloned and fake TAC / IMEI influences the competitive landscape for mobile device manufacturers and brands. Others are also affected; local governments typically suffer from reduced tax revenues whilst consumers can be hard-hit by the poor quality and/or performance of non-compliant devices. For this reason, the GSMA has initiated a number of activities to encourage all in the ecosystem to report examples of malpractice under the umbrella of the GSMA TAC / IMEI Integrity framework.
For the avoidance of any doubt the GSMA does not have the responsibility or powers to stop illegal TAC and IMEI activity. Our priority is to maintain the integrity of the TAC data globally for the benefit of the entire ecosystem.
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.
Mobile / Feature Phone
A mobile device which supports basic personal communication services, e.g. voice call and SMS.
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.
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.
A device, whose main function is to allow objects to be accessed, sensed and/or controlled remotely across existing mobile network infrastructures.
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
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:
Blood Pressure Monitor
Blood Pulse monitor
Body (Arm, Leg, Chest) Sports Monitor
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.
A mobile device which is embedded into other equipment to provide cellular network connectivity.
A mobile device which performs advanced routing functionalities, and uses the cellular network as Wide Area Network interface.
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.
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
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:
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.