Paraguay’s mobile operators, CONATEL and GSMA unite to tackle handset theft

Through GSMA Latin America “We Care” Campaign, Claro, Personal, Tigo and Vox Will exchange stolen device information, allowing users to check if their device has been reported as lost or stolen.

8 August 2018, Asunción: Paraguay’s mobile operators and the GSMA (global association of the mobile ecosystem) today announced the launch of the GSMA’s “We Care” initiative in Paraguay to provide a safer and more reliable mobile environment for users across the country. With the support of the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL), Paraguay’s mobile industry will work together to tackle handset theft and trafficking.

The GSMA, CONATEL and senior-level representatives from Claro, Personal, Tigo and Vox signed a Memorandum of Understanding through which the mobile operators will connect to the GSMA IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) Database to exchange information on stolen or lost devices, as well as block devices reported as stolen or missing on other networks. Globally, 122 operators from 44 countries contribute information about stolen and/or missing handsets to the GSMA’s “blacklist” every day. In Latin America, 52 operators from 18 countries participate.

According to data from GSMA Intelligence, total mobile connections in Paraguay reached 7.7 million in June 2018. The country now has more than four million smartphone connections, a figure that will grow to 4.7 million smartphone connections in 2020, accounting for a penetration rate of over 66 per cent by 2020.

“Handset theft has grown considerably in Latin America in recent years. To tackle this problem, we need a concerted, effective effort from all stakeholders involved: users, operators, governments and device makers,” said Lucas Gallitto, Public Policy Director Latin America, GSMA. “It’s essential for operators to share information through a common database, because it prevents the activation of terminals and halts black market trading.”

As part of today’s agreement, consumers, commercial organisations and law enforcement agencies will be able to use the GSMA IMEI Device Check service to check in real time whether a handset has been reported lost or stolen in Paraguay. “Thanks to this tool, individuals will also be part of the solution, because they’ll no longer be condoning an offence that often involves physical violence,” Gallitto said.

“Handset theft is a concern for everyone, because it endangers people’s safety. This initiative is an example of the pledge by CONATEL and the mobile industry to find a solution so that users can enjoy all the benefits of mobile connection without fear. We’re grateful to the GSMA for facilitating the use of this tool, which will toughen up the rules for tackling the use of stolen terminals,” said Teresita Palacios, President of CONATEL.

Underscoring the mobile industry’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the GSMA “We Care” campaign is an initiative of the region’s leading mobile operators to ensure all users can enjoy the life-changing benefits of mobile technology in a safe and secure environment. To achieve this, operators have joined forces to take on a series of commitments in every country in the region where mobile phones and networks can provide solutions to social problems. The “We Care” campaign has been launched in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru, and will continue to expand across the region.