It was way back in April that the U.S. carriers and FCC announced that they'd be partnering up to create a database of stolen phones in an attempt to make them less valuable to thieves, and now the database has gone live. Chris Guttman-McCabe, VP of Regulatory Affairs at the CTIA, has told Network World that AT&T and T-Mobile's shared database went live on Wednesday, adding that Sprint and Verizon will offer their own databases. It's expected that all of the databases of the four major U.S. carriers will be combined by the end of November 2013. It's not just the big four that will be using the database, though, as smaller carriers in the U.S. also plan to join in, and there are plans to link this database up with an international one used by the GSM Association.
This stolen phone database will work by storing the IMEI number of a phone, and once that device is reported stolen and added to the database, it will no longer be able to be used. Both Sprint and Verizon already offer a similar service for their CDMA devices that can prevent a phone from being activated if it has a bad ESN, but blocking a GSM device hasn't been quite as easy since a thief could pop a different SIM card into stolen phone and then be free to use it. This new stolen phone database will make it more difficult for thieves to sell phones since they won't be as valuable when they don't actually work. Have any of you ever had a phone stolen?