November move to bar stolen handphones

November move to bar stolen handphones

CYBERJAYA - A system that can make stolen handphones unusable three hours after being reported missing is expected to be introduced in early November.

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) monitoring and enforcement division head Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin said the telcos were ready to implement the system, though it still needed some fine-tuning.

"We are working on the security protocols and detailed implementation of the project," he said when contacted.

He said once the system was up and running, customers only needed to inform their respective telcos if they lost their mobile phones, adding that it was not necessary for a police report to be lodged.

The telco would notify MCMC, which would then check its central database containing a list of 15-digit IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) numbers shared by Malaysia's telcos.

After verifying the information, MCMC would then tell the other telcos to bar the phone from being used. All phones have a unique IMEI number and even if a thief were to change a SIM card, it cannot be used once the phone is barred, he explained.

MCMC, Zulkarnain said, was still figuring out what the process would be if a lost phone was found by police or a telco.

He said MCMC had notified the telcos of the phone blocking move on April 13.

According to MCMC statistics, Malaysia has 42.6 million cellular telephone subscriptions as of the second quarter of this year.

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