The iPhone – one of the most sought after smartphones in the market, you won’t be surprised how many go missing or reported stolen everyday – and AT&T is doing something about this, other carriers may soon follow suit.
Based on the report by The Verge yesterday, AT&T will start blocking missing or stolen phones from their network beginning July 10. This is done by blacklisting the phone’s IMEI. Technically this is not something new, as it is already being practiced in many European countries, Japan, Australia and some South American countries.
Related Article: Free IMEI Checker to Identify which Network Your iPhone is Locked to
When a phone’s IMEI is blacklisted, it won’t connect to the network. Some European carriers still allow data, but the phone won’t be able to send/receive calls or text messages. It’s good as an iPod touch, so to speak.
The bad news is that if you’ve bought a used iPhone and you don’t know anything about its history, chances are that you won’t be able to use it on AT&T’s network anymore if the iPhone was reported stolen before. It’s highly recommended that you check the IMEI first before buying any used iPhone.
While currently there’s still no announcement by other US carriers to initiate the same restriction, potentially carriers such as Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint may co-operate with the FCC to build a common missing/stolen phone database. By then, once an iPhone is reported stolen, it’s good as an iPod touch because you won’t be able to use the iPhone on any network.
We’ve received countless emails from customers asking if there’s a way to unblock their phones because they bought them online (some were quite cheap) and found out they were not able to use them because they were blacklisted by their mobile service providers.
According to the report on The Verge, only the original owner registered to the phone can request to unblock the phone. Other possible solutions would be swapping the logic board either with us or from another iPhone user from another country or replace the chips which are programmed with different IMEI.
Remember about a few months ago when all of us contacted AT&T to request for a free unlock? You submitted your iPhone’s IMEI to them and many requests were rejected. That’s probably because of your iPhone’s “history”. By now, AT&T should already have records of what happened to stolen or missing iPhones – and who the new owners are. Scary isn’t it?
Do you think your iPhone was reported missing or stolen before? We now offer an IMEI barred/blocked/blacklisted check. If you have an AT&T iPhone, you can now officially unlock it no matter what the status is (reported missing, has past due balances etc.)