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Stolen Phone Databases Go Live

Article Comments  7  

Nov 1, 2012, 8:34 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper
updated Nov 1, 2012, 9:45 AM

The CTIA Wireless Association announced recently that the four major U.S. wireless network operators — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless — have launched their databases of stolen cell phone IDs. The effort was kicked off in April and is meant to help curb the secondary market for stolen devices. The databases (one for GSM-based devices and another for CDMA-based devices) hold lists of the IMEI identification numbers of stolen devices. When someone attempts to activate a stolen device, it can be prevented from accessing the wireless network. In order for the system to work, however, consumers need to report their stolen device to their wireless provider so it can be added to the list. The CTIA also suggested that consumers take care to protect their personal information, much of which is accessible through their phones, by password protecting their devices. By curbing the market for stolen cell phones, the CTIA and other organizations hope to reduce cell phone thefts. CTIA CEO and President Steve Largent said, "CTIA and its member companies have always been advocates for wireless users' safety, which is why we're pleased our members met the voluntary deadline to create databases that will prevent stolen smartphones from being reactivated."

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Nov 1, 2012, 10:33 AM

Blocking Unpaid Balances

Now that this is live, I wonder how many phones T-Mobile and AT&T will block (since Sprint and Verizon already do this), when a customer doesnt pay their bill and gets terminated. I wonder what the legality will be when AT&T and T-Mobile say that they technically own the phone until the ETF is paid or the remaining balance is paid.
Ive actually had Sprint one time tell me they owned my phone until I was out of a contract, when I offered to return my phone to them, for a price, or for free, they refused to take it saying, "Its been used, we have no need for a used phone, however, we still own your phone through your contract but if anything happens to it, thats on you!"
With carriers saying things like this, thats so direct yet so vague, ...
T-mobile already does that. If you have an EIP (equipment installment plan) and you cancel or port-out, and do not provide a final payment, the IMEI is blacklisted. Mind you, that only happens if the phone still has money owed on it on the installmen...
Well....as much as you might dislike it, if you buy carrier equipment, then while you are under contract, the carrier owns the phone.....I can't imagine actually telling a customer that....but it is indeed true, that is what the contract says....
I HOPE they do! If you have a bill, PAY IT! I'm all about anything that helps keep delinquents in line. If you don't pay your bill, why should the carrier eat the loss on the equipment? If you received subsidized equipment pricing, then screw you! Ins...

Nov 1, 2012, 8:43 AM

Databass? Must be a new kind of mechanical fish.

And 4 carriers isn't enough. Its a great start, but you could then just take that stolen phone to a carrier that doesnt support this databass.
...and there are plenty of those around. MVNO heaven.
The fact that it doesn't do everything is no reason to not do something....over time, more carriers can be added....don't make the perfect the enemy of the good.
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