If in the phone is no SIM card, connection to cell towers is at my own behest. But what about the opposite way, can the local base stations search for a specific phone through its IMEI? Question extracted from this comment by yasserbn

Clarification: The phone does not have a SIM card and does not initiate any emergency calls. Can the base station find such phone by IMEI, say, by pinging it or otherwise tricking in to connect?

Answers at 1 only establish, that tracking is possible through emergency calls or internet connection. Can a smartphone be accessed only by knowing its IMEI? deals only with remote file access

  • base station find such phone by IMEI, say, by pinging it or otherwise tricking in to connect there is no any device(chip) available on the phone which can be ping by base station Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 11:57

2 Answers 2


Phones without a SIM still talk to the towers whether you make emergency calls or not. They access the cell network for time updates, if nothing else. No "tricks" required, no "finding" required. You can see this if you go into the network settings and look up what carrier the phone is connected to.

So, yes, a SIM-less phone is still very much active and, therefore, traceable.

  • Interesting. Can you describe where in settings I find "carrier the phone is connected to"?
    – user185953
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 18:00

Based on this post https://www.gearbest.com/blog/how-to/how-to-use-imei-number-to-track-your-lost-android-phone-2531, it appears that IMEI number alone is sufficient to track a phone when Bluetooth, GPS are not the means of trackers!

  • Quote > Every time a phone uses a particular network to make or receive a call, send or receive a message, its IMEI number is automatically emitted and tracked. Yes, this is the conclusion from the other thread [1]. If the phone makes an emergency call, it will be tracked.
    – user185953
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 9:47

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