stolen phoneIn the middle of last year CTIA-The Wireless Association, along with various wireless companies and a range of law enforcement agencies, announced that it would create a couple of databases to prevent reactivation of stolen phones. The first database was for GSM and CDMA phones. That was successfully implemented towards the end of last year. Now a few days before its self-imposed deadline, CITA President and CEO Steve Largent has announced that the 4G/LTE database has been implemented and is ready for action.

Criminals will have fewer outlets since these stolen phones would be blacklisted and could not be reactivated.

What has happened is that U.S. providers have created a common database for LTE smartphones so that stolen phones can not be activated on any LTE network in the U.S. There is also interoperability with appropriate international LTE stolen mobile smartphone databases. “As more countries and more carriers around the world participate in the 3G and 4G/LTE databases, criminals will have fewer outlets since these stolen phones would be blacklisted and could not be reactivated,” said Largent.

However this isn’t a blanket solution to stop smartphone theft. Smartphone owners need to remain vigilant and use services like the Android Device Manager to locate stolen phones and remotely wipe the phone if necessary. CITA also provides a list of anti-theft protection apps for Android smartphones. “We also remind consumers to pay attention to their surroundings. Similar to your purse or wallet, it’s best to not call attention to your smartphone and create an opportunity for a thief to steal it,” added Largent.

The implementation of the 4G/LTE database was the final step proposed by CITA back in April of 2012. The other steps, all of which have been implemented, included:

  1. Notify consumers of features to secure/lock smartphones with passwords.
  2. Educate consumers about features to secure/lock smartphones with passwords.
  3. Educate consumers about applications to remotely lock/locate/erase data from smartphones.
  4. Educate consumers about smartphone theft, protections and preventative measures.

Do you have a smartphone theft horror story? Please share it with us by leaving a comment below.

Gary Sims
Gary has been a tech writer for over a decade. Prior to that, he had over 10 years of experience as a software engineer.