The four largest wireless carriers in the US, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint have put their differences aside and worked together alongside the US Government in order to construct and support a database that holds information on lost and stolen handsets. The carriers have come to an agreement to deny voice as well as data service for handsets that have been added to the database. Right now, the carriers will set up their personal databases, and over the next 18 months, these individual databases will be rolled into a centralized repository for easier access. In time, it is also said that the smaller carriers will also join in the future, and update the central database accordingly in time.
This database was specially designed to assist the police in combating mobile phone theft, and with the number of smartphones circulating around the country, each new flagship model getting more and more expensive, it is no wonder that stolen handsets are classified as one of the fastest growing crimes in the US. While it might be difficult to physically retrieve your lost handset, at least it prevents the thieves from making a quick buck out of it by selling it, since it can no longer be used.