TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Alltel/AT&T/Cingular in Oklahoma City Market Area

Re: Alltel/AT&T/Cingular in Oklahoma City Market Area

Daniel AJ Sokolov (sokolov@gmx.netnetnet.invalid)
Sun, 28 Aug 2005 14:20:18 +0200

Am 28.08.2005 04:18 schrieb Joseph:

>> So does Cingular do something active to block the use of "foreign" GSM
>> phones on its network or does it rely on such phones being
>> subsidy-locked to another provider's network?

> No, they can't do that.

In fact, they could. I don't know if they do, but the technology is
there. Any GSM-network can check the IMEI of any phone, that want's to
connect to the network, and decide whether to allow that phone on the
network or not.

This is actually an anti-theft measure. There are international
databases that collect IMEI numbers of phones reported as
stolen. These phones are rendered useless on networks, that cooperate
with such a database. Sadly, only very few networks do that. They
think economically: "Every phone, that is stolen from someone (which,
most likely, was a customer of another network in another country) and
ends up in my own network saves me (or my customer) a lot of money. So
why should I block it. My customer would be angry, if he didn't know
he bought a stolen phone."

However, you could use that technology the other way round: block all
phones on your network that do not have certain IMEIs -- these being
only IMEIs of phones you sold yourself. Still, I doubt that anyone
would do that, it's not economical.

I think, that the people who've run into problems here have simply
locked handsets and do not know how to unlock them. However, most
handsets can be easily unlocked (except recent Nokia models like 6630
and 6680). Their new provider is too dumb to tell them and rahter
utters some nonsense.

Daniel AJ

My e-mail-address is sokolov [at] gmx dot net

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