SINGAPORE - The Malaysian government is introducing radical measures to cut down on mobile phone thefts.
Phones which have been stolen will be rendered unusable within three hours of the owners reporting them missing, The Star reported. Even a change of SIM cards will not reactivate the devices.
The scheme will be introduced before the end of the year.
A telecommunications industry source told The Star that the industry regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), issued a directive to telcos in April to comply with the new requirements for this initiative.
MCMC chairman Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi said the telcos were not to charge subscribers for the new service.
The operators have been told to install an Equipment Identity Register (EIR) so that the 15-digit International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (Imei) code that is unique to every phone can be blacklisted if the device is reported stolen.
Each EIR will be linked to a Malaysian Central Equip ment Iden tity Register to which the Imei codes of stolen phones will be forwarded.
The source said all blacklisted Imei codes would then be stored in the EIRs to render the phones unusable on any network and to block any attempt to reactivate the devices with new SIM cards. Once blocked, the phone cannot be reactivated.
The deadline for the telcos to comply with the MCMC directive expired on Thursday.
Malaysia will be the first country in the region to introduce the Imei barring system, according to the source.
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