A new blacklisting system could be the answer to stopping smartphone theft.
The new system put in place by Vodafone, Telecom and 2degrees means that once a mobile has been reported stolen it won’t work on any of the three networks.
Blacklisting relies on every mobile phone having a unique 15-digit international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) number, which is silently transmitted to the carrier each time it is used to make a call.
Smartphone owners need to record their IMEI number so they can provide it to their network provider if the phone is lost or stolen.
In December the three mobile operators began sharing their lists of stolen devices with one another and with overseas telcos through an international database.
Police say the system will mean stolen phones have no value on the streets.
Stolen smartphones could still be used as wi-fi-only devices or sold overseas and used on networks that didn’t check for stolen IMEIs.