FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Tuesday signed a bilateral agreement with Mexican Communications Under-Secretary Hector Olavarria Tapia to combat the theft and cross-border trafficking of mobile devices between the United States and Mexico.
Among other measures, the United States and Mexico have agreed to track and report progress in preventing mobile device theft. Both agencies will also share best practices with respect to theft prevention and consumer education.
Genachowski said the agreement sends a clear message to thieves and criminal gangs: “this is a crime that does not pay.”
Under the terms of the new agreement, the FCC and SCT will compile a report twice a year that provides information and data, including compliance with carrier commitments, for FCC and SCT leadership, which will also be made available online to the public.
To be sure, mobile phones thefts are on the rise. Major American cities, such as Washington D.C. report that roughly 40 percent of all robberies now involve cell phones. Reports also suggest that some stolen devices in the U.S. are being resold in Latin American markets, including Mexico.
The signing of the agreement follows on the launch in April 2012. of the stolen device database, which is used to identify and deactivate a stolen device after it has been reported. U.S. and Mexican wireless providers, covering over 95 percent of wireless consumers on GSM-based networks in both countries, recently announced their participation in the international stolen device database, which is used to identify and deactivate a stolen device after it has been reported.
The participation of U.S. companies, including GSM carriers AT&T, T-Mobile and Cincinnati Bell, and Mexican companies in the international database will enable providers in both countries to share information and, when necessary, deactivate stolen devices so that they cannot be trafficked from one country and reactivated on the other country’s wireless networks.