AT&T Mobility to launch new service for blocking stolen devices on July 10th

“AT&T will launch a new service for reporting and blocking stolen devices on Tuesday, according to a trusted source,” Louis Goddard reports for The Verge.

“The service will allow customers to deny voice, data and SMS access to any individual phone or tablet while keeping their account intact, avoiding the inconvenience of a full SIM block,” Goddard reports. “The company sent a message (pictured below) to customer service representatives on Wednesday advising them of the change.”

Goddard reports, “The move follows April’s announcement of a national database of stolen phones, to be compiled and maintained by the four major US carriers — AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint — in co-operation with the FCC. The proposal raised privacy concerns at the time, and this latest move by AT&T is likely to provoke further questions.”

Read more in the full article here.

16 Comments

  1. It took them long enough. I am surprised that the telcos don’t offer it as a premium service to further rip off their customers like they do with texting ‘plans’ on top of our data plans.

    1. This really isn’t any kind of real deterrent. A thief can still easily turn the phone off, then wipe it, then take it to tmobile/outside the US to use. It just protects AT&T if anything so they don’t part with anymore precious bits than they have to on their janky ass network.

      1. Hm, my understanding is that they were planning a national database of EIME numbers from all stolen phones. If they block all service based on the EIME number of a phone then that would be an effective deterrent as your stolen phone would be useless on any network.

        1. Yea. That helps when your phone goes to china. Not to mention it’s only for AT&T. So does that mean Verizon will have one? As the phones become more universal it just becomes a fragmented mess. Bleh.

  2. Yea, my daughter’s iPhone 4 was stolen. AT&T said they couldn’t do anything about it. No doubt that phone is now being used by someone else while AT&T is happily collecting the network fees on a stolen iPhone.

  3. What’s the “privacy” concern?!? The privacy police are worried that someone might find out that their cell-phone was stolen!?!

    Honestly, I’m growing tired of the privacy paranoia in this country. You’re just not that important, seriously! No one gives a sh*t where you are or where you were and if you’re paranoid about people finding out, then maybe you shouldn’t be going/doing those “things” in the first place!

    1. Take a breath, and think for a moment, about giving any carrier the power to report you or your phone to anyone they please. I don’t care how harmless it sounds, I don’t want to give the carriers an inch, where my account is concerned.

      As administrators, they all suck eggs.

  4. I’d like to think my email to Tim Cook helped to prompt this. My iPhone was stolen in November, I was robbed, and stabbed and spent 4 days in the hospital. Since location services drains the battery I never usually keep it on unless I need the GPS for something. Long story short, still no idea what became of my iPhone. And neither AT&T or Apple could help. It’s listed as stolen, but who knows how long it stayed in the US.

    1. Wow, I’m sorry that happened to you, but good for you though for writing to Tim Cook! I wouldn’t be surprised if he did use it to influence the carries.

      I’ve heard other stories as well. There was a woman driving around asking for directions and then when someone would show her Maps on their iPhone, she’d grab it and speed off. One guy got caught by the car and dragged down the road. Scary stuff!

      Knowing you can’t re-activate the iPhone, combined with knowing they can track you, could save lives.

  5. Long-overdue. My son’s cell phone was stolen and before we could turn it off because we didn’t know was missing we thought it was lost the thief stole the SIM card and charged over thousand dollars before the next bill appeared. had to pay it too.

  6. Quote: “AT&T Mobility to launch new service for blocking stolen devices on July 10th”, unquote.

    Hum, what about devices stolen other days of the year?

    1. Your question would make more sense if the original sentence was:

      …”new service for blocking devices stolen on July 10th”.

      As it is, the sentence is rather clear that AT&T is launching service on July 10th.

      If I were to pick a nit in the sentence (the Grammar Nazi that I am), I’d say that, as it is, without any commas, the sentence could more likely be (mis)understood to mean that the what is being launched is some service that will do device blocking on July 10th (and not on other days).

      So, if you were to really try and twist the meaning of the comma-less sentence, you could use this (rather than what you suggested).

      It would be rather difficult to clarify the meaning completely (and avoid either of the two mis-interpretations above), but one could presumably do it by inserting a comma before …”on July 10th”.

      It is probably quite clear that I am on vacation and have too much free time on my hands…

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