The UK’s mobile network operators have agreed to share their International Mobile Equipment Identification blacklist databases. The agreement between the four networks has been secured by the UK’s Mobile Phone Industry Crime Action Forum. French and Italian GSM operators have similar plans.
The deal will ensure that a handset registered as stolen on one network cannot be used on another UK system, although it does not prevent stolen handsets being smuggled and used aboard. It is expected that the sharing of information will begin within the next six weeks.
It is unclear whether the networks will also share lists of SIM locked handsets. Currently, handsets that have been supplied locked can be unlocked without a payment to the locking network. The networks are lobbying the government to make altering a handset’s International Mobile Equipment Identification illegal.