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NZ Mobile Companies Join Forces to Stop Phone Theft

MEDIA RELEASE

Monday 09 December, 2013

NZ Mobile Companies Join Forces to Stop Phone Theft

The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) has today launched a blacklisting system for lost or stolen mobile devices which Police say will help prevent crime by making mobiles less attractive to thieves.

Vodafone, Telecom and 2degrees have worked together over the past year to develop the blacklisting system, which gives each operator the ability to block the IMEI number (unique identification code) of a mobile device that has been reported as stolen across all three networks, usually within 24 hours.

The system is based on international best practice, and uses a central database hosted by the GSMA – the international body representing the mobile industry. If blacklisted, a mobile device will be useless on all three major mobile networks, even if the thief (or whoever receives the goods from the thief) changes the SIM or switches provider.

Chief Executive of the TCF David Stone said that the initiative was a great example of cross-industry collaboration and would bring real benefits for customers, and for the community as a whole.

“Mobile phones have become more and more important to us over the past few years. For many people, their mobile is not just a phone – it is also their camera, watch, diary, encyclopaedia, map and social organiser. This makes smartphones very desirable items, but unfortunately it also makes them a prime target for thieves. The blacklisting system aims to address this problem,” said Mr Stone.

Superintendent Steve Christian, National Manager Mobility for New Zealand Police welcomed the blacklisting system.

“This is a great leap forward because there has, until now, been a significant gap in this area. We are pleased the telcos are now joining together to render stolen devices as being of no value on the streets."

Mr Stone said that anyone who wishes to have their lost or stolen phone blacklisted should contact their mobile provider, and he emphasised that they should also report the theft to the police.

He warned that people should be careful about purchasing mobile phones or other mobile devices from sources other than registered dealers.

“If you purchase a stolen mobile phone or other device – even if you think you are buying it legitimately - you may not have any recourse if that device is subsequently blocked, and so you could end up losing money. We urge people to purchase mobiles only from registered dealers or from sources they know they can trust.”

Ends

Top 5 tips for keeping your mobile phone secure

• If you lose your phone or you think it has been stolen, report this as soon as possible to your mobile provider. One phone call will ensure your SIM is barred from working and your handset is blocked across Telecom’s, Vodafone’s and 2degree’s networks – usually within 24 hours. The numbers to call for each mobile operator are:


Vodafone: 0800 800 021

Telecom: 123

2degrees: 0800 022 022

• Be careful where you leave your phone – avoid café tables, bars, or having it hanging out of your pocket. You’d be surprised at how skilled thieves are at snatching these items!

• Put a pin, password or other form of security on your phone and set it to automatically lock, so that only you can access calling, texting and other applications.

• Only purchase new or second hand phones from trustworthy sources – such as registered mobile dealers.

• Install an application like Find My Phone, which will allow you to track the phone over WiFi if you lose it.


About the TCF

Established in 2002, the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) plays a vital role in the New Zealand telecommunications industry, collaboratively developing key industry standards and codes of practice that underpin the country’s digital economy. Our objective is to actively foster cooperation among the telecommunications industry’s participants, to enable the efficient provision of regulated and non-regulated telecommunications services.

We work with both industry participants and government agencies to achieve our objectives. We work within the telecommunications industry to efficiently resolve regulatory, technical and policy issues, and provide a bridge to government with the results. We offer an expert, informed, and commercially-focused forum to debate problems, and to devise and implement practical, efficient, consensual solutions that enable competition to flourish. For more information visit: http://www.tcf.org.nz

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