EAST AFRICAN CELL-PHONE COMPANIES MOVE TO CURB THEFTS
Alarmed by cellular-phone theft and a thriving cross-border trade in second-hand handsets, regional service providers have mooted plans to curb phone thefts.During a special meeting in Nairobi last week, seven companies in attendance finalised the all-important aspects for a computerised strategy to be put in place soon. However, two service providers, Mobitel of Tanzania and Uganda’s CelTel, failed to attend the crucial meeting thereby necessitating postponement of official launch of the coordinated product.
The telephony companies intend to activate a system that can demobilise a phone set, regardless of the network access card loaded in it or subscriber’s country of origin. Previously, all a thief needed to do on stealing a phone was to remove the network’s sim-card and throw it away. When the victim reported theft, the company would only deactivate his or her number.