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
“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.”
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
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