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International Mobile Station Equipment Identity or better known as IMEI is like the Birth Certificate of mobile phones. Once manufactured,each smartphone is designated an IMEI no to register it's details such as its model,year of manufacture and some of its specifications.
You can easily check the IMEI no of your device by dialing *#06# and the IMEI no will pop up on your screen. In cases if your phone is stolen and you have its IMEI no,you can actually dial up to your network provider and block the IMEI no,this completely blocks your device from making calls or receiving calls.
IMEI no is also used to register for the warranty of your phone.Usually this is done within few days from the purchase of the phone.Therefore,in the event if something went wrong with the phone and it is covered under warranty,the IMEI no will be used as a reference for the validity of the warranty(usually used to check whether the warranty period is still valid).