Swisscom Mobile implements IMEI blocking to combat mobile phone theft
03 June 2003
As has been the case until now with the SIM card (and therefore the phone number), so it is now also possible to block a mobile phone itself on the Swisscom Mobile NATEL® network. With models of the latest generation this blocking takes place via the serial number of the device, the so-called IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity). This makes the theft of mobile phones in general, and in particular of more expensive models less attractive, since blocking renders them unusable.
Customers can report the loss of a mobile phone (e.g. following a theft) by calling Swisscom Mobile's free hotline around the clock on 0800 55 64 64. Callers are advised on the options of SIM card and IMEI blocking. Although a theft does not have to be reported to the police for a block to be activated, it is nevertheless recommended for insurance purposes. Blocked mobile phones can be unblocked within one working day following a call to the hotline and are then fully operational once more. The only requirement is for the caller to be identified as the legal owner of the mobile phone.
Striving towards a national blocking platform
Swisscom Mobile is combating the misuse of mobile terminals with IMEI blocking and is the first network operator in Switzerland to introduce the service. The leading Swiss mobile operator is striving towards a national, cross-network blocking platform and talks have already taken place with other network operators. As a secondary priority the mobile operator is working towards promoting international legislation.
Important: Swisscom Mobile is unable to block the terminals of NATEL® easy customers via the IMEI number since in the case of prepaid accesses mobile phone owners cannot be reliably identified due to a lack of secure details. Blocking is also not possible with older models since a legally binding IMEI numbering standard for all mobile phone manufacturers was only introduced in June 2002.