Why is my new Xperia Z3’s IMEI the same as the old one?

Jun March 5, 2015
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I have bought my self a Sony Xperia Z3 (which is supposedly water-resistant) and the unit when submerged to just 6 inches of fresh water in the sink the phone died after a few minutes.

I brought the unit to the service center since it is still covered by the warranty. From there they advised me to bring the unit to where I actually bought it from because the unit damage is eligible for a new unit replacement.

I did that, and after 3 weeks, the store called me up and I WAS TOLD THAT MY NEW UNIT HAD ARRIVED. In the store itself, we checked the supposedly new unit. It looked new externally, but when we checked the IMEI number, I was surprised the same number was there in a supposedly new unit.

So I asked the store manager how is this possible? The reply was that they are assigning same IMEI number on the new units that Sony is replacing for warranty purpose later on, since they are destroying the defective units that are coming in.

My question is this, is this all true that the IMEI number from one unit can be RE-ASSIGNED to another unit by the manufacturer?

It may be so, but is this more complicated than just providing a new unit and rewrite what ever is there in the warranty?

Or they are just playing with me when the truth is that they simply repaired the unit’s internals and replaced with a new casing?

  1. ha14
    March 6, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Each legitimate phone has a unique IMEI, also , counterfeit mobile phones IMEIs are usually not reflected in the GSMA IMEI database.

    Structure of the IMEI and IMEISV (IMEI Software Version)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Mobile_Station_Equipment_Identity#Structure_of_the_IMEI_and_IMEISV_.28IMEI_Software_Version.29

    check on the IMEI on the PHone and under the battery, maybe it is to keep the original contract

  2. Jan F.
    March 5, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    The IMEI is a software based device identification number. It is not directly linked with the physical hardware.
    On older devices you could actually change the IMEI yourself. On newer phones it is mostly firmware locked by the manufacturer to make it harder to "spoof" a phones IMEI (in order to circumvent network bans, re-purpose stolen phones etc.)

    For documentation purposes it may just be easier to assign the same IMEI to a new device rather than keeping a warranty chain on the device(s). Imagine you had 2, 3, 4 maybe even five warranty replacements for whatever reason. Somewhere there would have to be a documentation of every single replacement with all the order and delivery slips etc.

    Are they playing with you, maybe, maybe not. That is hard to say. Did you get a repaired phone? I would say there is a high possibility. Most manufacturers will give you a refurbished - a repaired, tested and repackaged phone as a warranty replacement. You only really get a brand new phone if they are out of refurbished ones.