Used smartphone buyers, who prefer to save a little dough by purchasing previously owned smartphones off eBay and Craigslist, may soon find little risk involved. WSJ reported today that the 4 major wireless networks in the US are teaming up with the FCC to stop the sale of stolen/lost phones once and for all. Apparently, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile all have plans to create a common database that will deny both voice and data services to devices that come up flagged as stolen or lost.
At first, carriers will come up with their own databases and sometime within the next 18 months, those databases will be pooled into one centralized repository. Currently, only Sprint as Verizon blacklist stolen/lost devices, and only within their respective networks (I’ve also heard talk that T-Mobile has finally begun blacklisting IMEI’s ahead of this announcement). A stolen phone on Sprint, for instance, can still be brought to a MetroPCS store for activation. However this wont be the case for long with even smaller, regional carriers getting in on this new database. This should not only effectively end the sale of stolen/lost devices forever, but those would-be opportunists, looking to cash-in on a deal.
What do you guys think? Is this a great idea that could lead to less insurance claims and bystanders who actually return lost devices? Can you find some kind of negative impact this could have on consumers?