Last year, some 185.000 thefts of mobile phones were reported in France.
Over the past few years, consumer associations complained about the fact that operators were slow to react when a consumer informes them about a stolen handset: time elapses and the thief can make phone call at the expense of his victim.
But even if the line is blocked on time, the marketing value of the handset remains attractive.
So the French government and mobile operators are promoting measures to turn a stolen phone into a useless piece of electronics. Once the victim has given the the IMEI code (International Mobile Equipement Identity, the unique number on a strip located behind the battery of the handset. You can also find it on most handsets by pressing the keys *#06# when it will be displayed in the handset window), the device is not usable on any network anymore.
But only recent handset feature an unbreakable IMEI code while older one have a series number (and one wouldn’t block a series of phones just for one theft). That’s good news for the mobile industry: people might have to buy new phones.