Time was when it took several years to get a new telephone connection in India. Now, there is less pressure than ever before for fixed landlines as mobile phone subscribers appear poised to outnumber those with a fixed line. By year’s end, India may become one of the few countries where the mobile revolution is complete and the mobile reigns supreme, just a decade after it was first introduced.
At present, the mobile phone frenziness could be gauged from the fact that 8.06 million subscribers were added in July 2007 and 7.34 million subscribers in June 2007 reads a recent press release by the Telecom Authority of India (TRAI),. According to the press release, the total wireless subscribers (GSM, CDMA & WLL (F)) base in India is 192.98 million.
Behind this mobile rage, the reasons which are being cited are – ever-increasing youth population, a chemistry working behind the status symbol, business-boost and falling charges.
With this mammoth mobile phone subscriber, it has been found incidents of mobile phone theft have also increased many fold. It is worth mentioning, those mobile phone that got lost were never possessed by their owners again.
A Serious Issue
The problem of mobile phone theft is not going to just go away. Mobile phones have been identified by the police as CRAVED (Concealable, Removable, Available, Valuable, Enjoyable, Disposable) items that are highly attractive to thieves and this will be exacerbated as phones become more sophisticated and start to offer users advanced functionality, such as the ability to pay for goods and services directly through the handset.
It has been found major locations where mobile phone theft occurs are railway stations, bus stops, traffic signals, pathways Motorists who use their mobile when driving might not only be risking their lives but also be a potential target for the culprits. Of late there have been too many incidences of bikers being robbed on roadways.
When we loose our mobile phone, more than anything it’s the personal information that really matters.
Some Do’s and Don’ts to avoid mobile theft
- Avoid using your mobile phone in heavily crowded areas
- Avoid using your mobile phone in public transport
- Avoid lending your mobile phone to strangers who might try to trick you
- Don’t talk while driving
- Avoid leaving your handset in your vehicle
- Do not leave you phone unattended in any place, even at your home
- Use PIN codes to lock your phone
- Turn off the ringer
- Don’t walk and txt
- After you buy a mobile set record the unique 15 or 17 digit code IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) and keep it in a secure place.
This digit code is used to identify an individual mobile station to a GSM or UMTS network. The IMEI number facilitates an important function; it easily identifies a mobile phone being used on a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network.
The IMEI is a useful tool to stop a phone that is stolen from accessing a network and being used. Mobile phone owners that have their phones stolen can contact their mobile network provider and ask them to ban or shut off a phone using its IMEI number. With an IMEI number, the phone can be banned from the network quickly and easily. It is important to note that swapping a SIM card will not stop a phone from being banned.
Note: An IMEI device is only used to identify the device and does not usually relate to a specific individual or organization.
Note: However, it is possible to change an IMEI with special tools and there are certain mobile networks that do not automatically blacklist handsets. Current statistics state that about 10 % of current IMEI’s in use today are not unique or have been reprogrammed (hacked).
What can be done?
There is no magic wand either on the part of mobile phone owners or telecom operators to root out the problem.
With the IMEI, the crux thing is that it can be reprogrammed, it does not disable the handset from being usable. All it does is stop calls being made on the network that barred it. The handset itself is completely usable and does not lose its functionality.
Text bombing methods can be used as it has been done in Amsterdam.
Making phone theft unattractive by encouraging the use of cheap phones e.g Botswana.
Offer mobile phone security solution, which monitors phone proximity to owner and alarms on any phone security breach.
Curtailing the ready market of stolen phones.