The Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) of Colombia and GSMA Latin America have agreed to strengthen joint efforts to tackle handset theft in Colombia by providing mobile users with a tool to check whether a device they are about to buy has been reported stolen.
The institutional agreement was signed during Latin American Telecommunications Congress (CLT) 2016 between Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America; German Darío Arias, Executive Director, CRC; Juan Manuel Wilches, Expert Commissioner, CRC; and Lucas Gallitto, Technology and Policy Adviser, GSMA. The agreement included the following points:
- Device Check service: The GSMA IMEI Device Check service will allow Colombian users to check on the CRC website to see whether a device they are about to buy has been reported stolen anywhere in the world by consulting the GSMA’s IMEI database. The CRC will start implementing the service in the next few days and it is expected to be operative in 60 days.
- List of type allocation codes: The Colombian government will now have access to the list of type allocation codes (TACs) of mobile devices that have been through the GSMA’s IMEI allocation process. This will give the Colombian government an overview of approved mobile phones in accordance with recent regulations passed by the CRC. Access to the TAC list has been implemented with immediate effect after the signing of the agreement.
These actions have been possible because mobile operators in Colombia are connected to the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) global database of the GSMA, allowing them to exchange information about stolen mobile devices so a cell phone can be blocked or disabled on other networks. The blacklist – GSMA IMEI database – is updated every day through reports from more than 106 operators around the world, including 53 operators in 17 Latin American countries.
“Device Check is a key tool to empower mobile users in Colombia so they can now avoid aiding crime, as they can find out in real time if a mobile they are about to buy has been stolen,” said Cabello. This tool has been implemented with enormous success in Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina and Brazil, and will soon be implemented in other countries in the region.
“Mobile phone theft is a plague that can be fought only by joint collaboration actions between operators, consumers, government and manufacturers,” said the Head of GSMA Latin America.
At the beginning of 2016, mobile operators and the GSMA launched the “We Care Colombia” campaign, which included a pledge by the industry to work with the National Police of Colombia in the fight against device theft by sharing technical, administrative, operational, financial and human resources.
Handset theft has grown considerably in Colombia in recent years, with more than one million terminals stolen in 2014. However, only 45,783 thefts were reported to the National Police, making it important to raise awareness so the public will report stolen or lost mobile devices. Colombia’s Ministry of ICT has also launched the campaign NoMásCelusRobados (NoMoreStolenHandsets).