Third party should keep stolen mobiles’ database, say firms

December 18th, 2010 - 8:23 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) A third party regulator should maintain the database of stolen mobile handsets and the equipment identity register should be maintained on a national level, say telecom service providers.

“The CEIR (Central Equipment Identity Register) should be maintained by third party or regulator and it should accessible by all operators. For easy integration and propagation of stolen IMEIs (International Mobile Equipment Identity) to operator’s equipment identity register, the CEIR should be maintained at national level,” said Tata Teleservices in its comment on the consultation paper issued by the Telecom Regulator Authority of India (TRAI).

TRAI sought the opinion of service providers on ways to block lost or stolen mobile phones, discourage handset thefts and protect the consumer interest.

Telecom giant Bharti Airtel said that the CEIR can be maintained through a third party authorised by telecom regulator or the government and run on revenue sharing arrangement set by the authority.

The service providers have also suggested that the IMEI number of the stolen mobile handsets should be blocked thus making it practically unusable for any person. The government should come up with a legislation to prevent reprogramming of a mobile device once its IMEI number is blocked, it added.

“Blocking of the IMEI is an effective solution to discourage mobile thefts in the country as it will prevent the usage of stolen handset which is re-sold in the market to some extent. However, it alone cannot serve the purpose as the handsets can be easily reprogrammed and sold in the market,” said Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

“It is important to have a legislation stop the misuse of mobile phones by software reprogramming process. The authority will first have to put in place a suitable legislation, and only once that is done that suitable actions can be taken towards enforcement,” it added.

According to state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, apart from monetary penalties, criminal charges will reduce the menace to a great extent.

Currently the service provider can only block the SIM card and issue a duplicate SIM in its place if a mobile phone is lost.

Though TRAI did not disclose the exact number of mobile phones stolen or lost, it said the data was alarming.

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