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What is a MEID number used for?

The Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID) is a unique identifier assigned to mobile devices, specifically mobile phones, in CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) networks. MEID is designed to serve as a globally unique identification number for individual mobile devices, similar to the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) used in GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks. Here are the key details about MEID and its purposes:

1. Uniqueness and Format:

  • The MEID is a 56-bit identifier that uniquely identifies a mobile device within a CDMA network.
  • It is composed of two parts: the 14-digit IMEI-like portion and the 18-digit serial number portion.

2. Purpose of MEID:

  • Device Identification:
    • The primary purpose of the MEID is to uniquely identify each mobile device within a CDMA network.
    • This identification is essential for various network management and operational purposes.
  • Network Registration:
    • When a mobile device connects to a CDMA network, the MEID is used during the registration process to uniquely identify the device.
    • The MEID helps the network recognize and authenticate the device, allowing it to access network services.
  • Lost or Stolen Device Tracking:
    • MEID plays a role in tracking lost or stolen devices. Mobile operators and law enforcement agencies can use the MEID to identify and block devices reported as lost or stolen.
  • Device Management:
    • Mobile operators use the MEID for device management and inventory tracking purposes.
    • MEID facilitates the tracking of devices on the network, assisting in activities such as troubleshooting and maintenance.
  • Regulatory Compliance:
    • MEID is used to meet regulatory requirements related to device identification and tracking.
    • It helps mobile operators comply with government regulations regarding the registration and tracking of mobile devices on their networks.
  • CDMA Network Operations:
    • MEID is an integral part of CDMA network operations, assisting in various functions such as handoffs, roaming, and network optimization.

3. Comparison with IMEI:

  • While MEID serves a similar purpose to IMEI, it is specific to CDMA networks.
  • MEID is used in CDMA technologies, including CDMA2000 and EV-DO networks, whereas IMEI is used in GSM, WCDMA, and LTE networks.
  • Some devices, especially those designed for global use, may have both an IMEI and a MEID.

4. Security Considerations:

  • MEID is part of the overall security framework of CDMA networks. It helps prevent unauthorized devices from accessing network services.

5. Compatibility with LTE:

  • With the evolution of cellular networks, MEID has continued to be relevant in CDMA-based technologies and is also used in LTE (Long-Term Evolution) networks for CDMA2000 and EV-DO fallback scenarios.

6. Device Activation and Provisioning:

  • During the activation and provisioning of a mobile device on a CDMA network, the MEID is used to uniquely identify the device and associate it with the subscriber’s account.

In summary, the MEID is a unique identifier assigned to mobile devices in CDMA networks, serving crucial functions such as device identification, network registration, lost or stolen device tracking, and regulatory compliance. It is an essential element in the operational and security aspects of CDMA mobile networks.

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