IMEI Blacklisting Service Renders Mobile Theft Futile

Feb 3, 2017

“Mobile phone theft is becoming an exercise in futility” says Geoff Thorn, CEO of the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF). “Stolen devices are worthless, and those stealing the phones are causing unnecessary harm and distress to others.”

Geoff’s comments follow recent, repeated, ram-raid attacks on a Spark store in Ponsonby. Grant McBeath, General Manager of Sales for Spark Home, Mobile and Business commented “It’s a really pointless theft. As all the devices have now been blacklisted, they might as well have stolen some paper weights, as that’s all they’re good for now.”

2degrees is positive that in time blacklisting will dramatically reduce mobile phone theft. “The system is working well for our customers – hopefully the need for it will taper off as a result” said a company spokesperson.

Mobile providers around New Zealand work together, facilitated by the TCF, to blacklist all stolen devices across all mobile networks in New Zealand. Blacklisting works by blocking a phone’s unique number, or IMEI. Once a phone is blacklisted because it is lost or stolen, it is impossible to make or receive calls or use data on any mobile network nationwide.

Consumers are encouraged to check any second-hand mobile before purchasing it, using a free look-up service available on the TCF website, The number of mobiles reported in New Zealand since 2013, when the service commenced, is almost half a million (Source: GSMA Device Check), which demonstrates that the service is actively being used to prevent the use of stolen phones.

Geoff advises “if your mobile phone has been lost or stolen, contact your mobile provider immediately to ensure your handset is blacklisted. You can also use your phone’s IMEI number to find a lost or stolen phone by contacting the police.


For more information, please contact: Geoff Thorn, TCF, CEO

Ph: +64 21 937 920 | Email: | Twitter: @TCFNZ

For media enquiries contact
Paul Brislen.

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