In a desperate attempt to counter the growing number of smartphone thefts in the U.S., carriers are now working together to introduce databases that will prevent stolen phones from functioning on their networks. It is reported that in 2011 alone, roughly 38 percent of all robberies recorded in Washington were actually smartphone thefts. The condition is much more worse in New York, where more than 40 percent of accounted robberies are considered to be smartphone related.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission together with a few police chiefs in the U.S. are seeking the assistance of carriers to battle the problem. Chris Guttman-McCabe, the CTIA Vice President for Regulatory Affairs, told the IDG News Service that AT&T and T-Mobile will be offering a joint database since they are using similar a technology on their network. On the other hand, Verizon and Sprint, who both have a different network setup, will be offering their own databases.
Guttman-McCabe added that the four major carriers will be combining their databases in November so that the majority of the smartphone users in the U.S. will be covered. The said databases will allow carriers to block the IMEI number or the mobile equipment identity number of a phone. “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.