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US carriers to build database for stolen smartphones

Smart phone theft has become a major concern for smart phone owners in the United States of America. The number of smart phone thefts recorded is increasing every year. In 2011 alone, about 38 per cent of all the reported robberies in Washington had been smart phone robberies. And the situation worse in New York with that percentage going up to 40 per cent in the same year. So, wireless carriers and theft control organizations have been formulating solutions for the problem, and it seems like they have come up with a good one.

The U. S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and a few police chiefs in the US have been working together and seeking assistance from major wireless carriers in the nation to tackle this issue. Chris Guttman-McCabe, the CTIA Vice President for Regulatory Affairs, told the IDG News Service that T Mobile and AT&T have a similar kind of technology in which they use a database to keep track of all the stolen smart phones. So these two carriers will be offering a joint database.

On the other hand, Verizon and Sprint have different kind of network setup, which they cannot combine. So these two carriers will be providing their own databases. Chris Guttman-McCabe also said that these four major carriers will be combining their databases in November this year so that they cover the most number of users.

This combined database will store the International Mobile Equipment Identity number, or the IMEI number of the stolen smart phones. And this is the only info about the stolen smart phones needed to restrict service to these smart phones. So if there is no service on a smart phone, the thief will not be able to make calls from it, so it will essentially become a media player and an internet device if Wi Fi is supported. “The goal is to not only protect the consumer by cancelling the service, but by ultimately protecting the consumer by drying up the after market for stolen phones,” Guttman-McCabe added.

Source: Ubergizmo