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Italian mobile operators unite against phone theft

Italy's four mobile phone companies have agreed to introduce a joint register of stolen phones in order to prevent thieves from...

Italy's four mobile phone companies have agreed to introduce a joint register of stolen phones in order to prevent thieves from reusing the handsets.

Telecom Italia Mobile, Omnitel Vodafone, Wind and Blu have agreed to deny their services to anyone in possession of a mobile contained in the stolen phone "blacklist".

Customers will be invited to report their missing phone's International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) code to their own operator, who will then ensure that the new "owner" is not allowed to use it. Until now thieves simply replaced the SIM card and activated a new number.

Mobile phone crime is not particularly prevalent in Italy, where there were more than 31 million mobile phone subscriptions at the end of last year.

Research in the UK has found that 500,000 young people had their mobile phones stolen last year. The agreement among the Italian operators is one of the first such initiatives in Europe.

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