Major U.S. cell phone service providers including T-Mobile and AT&T plan to form a central database of stolen cell phones in the nation through a partnership with the government, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
This database will provide the organizations with the ability to track phones that are reported lost or stolen and deny any thieves from using voice and data services from the mobile. It will be built and maintained by the carriers.
"New technologies create new risks," said Julius Genachowski,chairman of Federal Communications Commission, which negotiated the new proposal. "We wanted to find a way to reduce the value of stolen smartphones."
Both Sprint and Verizon currently block activation on cell phones that have been reported as stolen.
Cell phone theft is a growing problem in the U.S. and with the addition of more high-end devices to the market such as the new iPhone and Samsung Galaxy line, customers are more concerned with protecting their investment than ever with some of these devices costing $600 or more.
The database deal resulted from frustrated police chiefs expressing their discontent with cell phone crime in various cities throughout the U.S.
The Major Cities Chiefs Association, an organization made up of 70 police chiefs from major cities in the U.S. and Canada published a resolution back in February that told the FCC to start requiring telecom companies to create this technology in order to combat the problem.
AT&T and T-Mobile have already been working on technology to block the reuse of stolen phones.
"We're working toward an industry wide solution to address the complexity of blocking stolen device from being activated on ours or another network with a new SIM card," said T-Mobile in a statement to WSJ. "This is not a simple problem to solve."
Other nations such as the U.K., Germany, France and Australia have already had these kinds of databases in place for a long time.