Nationwide Carriers Join Forces To Battle Smartphone Theft, Hallelujah

All I have to say about this is…”it’s about time” as the nations top four wireless carriers band together with the FCC to develop a nationwide database of stolen smartphones to battle smartphone theft. Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and our beloved T-Mobile USA represent 90% of the nations wireless subscribers and have jointly announced in coordination with the FCC and police departments around the country the creation of a national database utilizing unique smartphone identification numbers. The wireless carriers will build and support their own separate databases, expected to be up and running inside the next 6 months. Within 18 months the separate carrier databases will be merged to form a national database used to block stolen devices from being altered to run on another carrier’s network.

Carriers in the US will go beyond deactivating SIM cards that store a user’s account information and will deactivate the device itself, using the phone’s unique identification number, likely an IMEI, MEID or ESN number.

The companies’ actions “will help to deter smartphone thefts and protect the personal information on them,” Steve Largent, president of CTIA-The Wireless Association, said in a statement to Bloomberg.

The carriers are taking it one step further by working with Congress on legislation that would make it a federal crime to tamper with a  smartphone to stop any blocking process. The goal is to make stolen smartphones less valuable.

“It’s just too easy for a thief to steal a phone and sell it on the black market,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said. “This program will make it a lot harder to do that. And the police departments we are working with tell us that it will significantly deter this kind of theft.”

I know a lot us loathe the idea of government involvement in the wireless industry, but this is one action I’m completely behind.

Fierce Wireless, Bloomberg

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  • http://benpike.net/ Ben Pike

    It appears to be less gov’t involvement and more companies cooperating against a common problem.

    But to play devil’s advocate here: Who owns the ESN/IMEI/MEID? If I own my device do I have a right to change it?

    • redman12

      Those number are on the back of your phone behind he battery cover. They cannot be changed, once it’s blocked. it’s useless.

      • http://benpike.net/ Ben Pike

        There are ways around that…

        They aren’t pretty or easy, but there are work-arounds… That’s where the FCC comes in: making it illegal to alter that information to take a banned phone and make it un-banned.

      • Vim

        Then why are they seeking a law to make changing an IMEI illegal?  So clearly it is possible.

    • Thomas Brezinski

      No you do not have the right to change it.  Changing the ESN/IMEI/MEID is cell phone cloning which is highly illegal.

  • NoLongerPimpStrong

    I definitely support this for 2 reasons.  One, obviously being to deter theft and two, being that it will lower the amount of fraudulent insurance claims which will in turn prevent my dam insurance rate and deductible from going up. 

    I have a homeboy who has people claim their phone as lost and gives that person enough money for the replacement with interest.  

    I also hope that this plan includes the clerk securing the lost/stolen phone so that the owner or police can be notified.  Don’t pawn shops have to do that?

  • BiGMERF

    Bravo !

  • Brianaz24

    As long as they set up a number or website I can go to and check to see if its stolen I’ll be happy…. if its as retarded as Sprint or Verizon who can’t tell you until you actually try to activate the phone I think this is a crappy idea and will do more harm than good…

    • Brianaz24

       It’s the main reason I favored GSM in this country.

    • Aaron Ratner

      Amen. We have enough federal laws. We don’t need another. Theft is already a crime. Why not add TVs and receive radios to the list? How about my microwave? Imagine I report my phone stolen and then find it. I’ll never get it out of that database. This will not do a thing to prevent theft and won’t change a damn thing as usual.

  • James

    This is great! Fewer thefts of our personal smart phones (Had one stolen in Dec, Brand new $600 smart phone).
    Guess Ebay will suffer though and Craigs List

  • William C Bonner

    I ee this as a bad thing. I’ve liked the GSM based networks and their SIM based identity precisely because the carrier is less likely to track the actual phone identifications. I know that in the US, an unlocked phone in itself is of limited use because of frequency issues, but I see this as largely our corporate overlords locking down their networks, limiting to “approved devices” and ass a step backwards to when the only devices you could connect to the phone network were the devices you leased from your phone carrier.

  • Frankgonzalez0131

    So what happens now when you report your phone stolen. Any one can use it?

    • Dave Macias

      is like the blacklisting on Europe, once the phone is reported as stolen the phone is barred from all networks in that country , im not sure wether this apply to overseas as well.

    • Thomas Brezinski

      Currently I think so.  Up until now the carriers have not taken much interest.  Think about, as long as that stolen phone gets signed up for service they make money, even more possibly.  You have to buy a new phone, they make money, someone new signs up for service with your old phone, they make money.

    • Brianaz24

       On GSM networks nothing happens if you report it lost or stolen… On CDMA they tend to black list the ESN…  also non-payment is a reason for blacklisting on CDMA…

  • The Dude

    Phone thieves will then be forced to sell overseas. Doubt this will slow down the thievery.

  • Thomas Brezinski

    The GSMA already maintains the IMEI DB which is a global black list of stolen devices and I’m pretty sure the major carriers are members of GSMA.  Why do they need to build something that already exists?

  • The Dudette

    “…a federal crime to tamper with a  smartphone to stop any blocking process.”  How can you be completely behind that?  *any* is too broad.  It should be *any blocking process performed due to a duly reported crime and subject to reversal if it proves to be false* and not just because *someone* with power decides to block a phone.

    Example.  Alice buys a used phone from Bob off eBay.  Bob owned the phone, sold it legitimately, aaaand reports it stolen after Alice receives it.  And asks for something extra for ‘assistance’ in removing the block.  If Alice gets her friend Charlie to help circumvent the block, s/he shouldn’t be guilty of a crime just for the mere fact the block was circumvented.

    These details matter.  I hope you will keep a close watch on this.  Note that my example didn’t assume AT&T (for example) might block someone for no good reason.

    • Thomas Brezinski

      You need to comprehend what circumventing a block would require.  You would have to change the IMEI number on the phone.  Do so is very very bad as every phone in the world has to have a unique IMEI number.  The numbers are sold to manufacturers in blocks.  Changing the IMEI number would constitute “cloning” another phone which is very illegal.

      • The Dudette

        So if it is already very illegal why make it illegal?

        Sure, I understand what is involved, it is similar to a MAC address except the effect isn’t limited to your local subnet.  It just doesn’t need to be a crime to merely change it.  It needs to be a crime to steal someone’s service, or their phone, or to cheat the carriers.  And I believe those things are already crimes.

        • Brianaz24

           I see rooting potentially becoming illegal based on the wording…

        • Priapism

          I’m with you on this Brianaz24.

          Typically legislators are well intentioned but they get it wrong.   I’d
          hate to think that flashing the radio in a phone or something that
          seemed benign, is misunderstood and now I’m going to have my phone shut
          off, and perhaps charged with some sort of crime.  

           I’m all for the quadruplets doing this on their own right…I’m just not sure we need a law mandating it.

  • Lani

    I predict a additional monthly fee coming up, because a list was mandated by the FCC. If you need to fix am error in the report, you need to provide a copy of your id, proof of ownership, receipts, ssn#, birthdate, and anything else that could be used to forge your identity in the future by a database hacker.

    • idk

      Lol thanks Nostradamus!

  • Guest

    I really hope the divided Congress does not pass this. I don’t need more laws.

    • Frigadroid

      I’m tired of regulation really, really, tired of regulation! When a politician like Barney Frank says he wants to legalize marijuana, what it really means is he wants to over tax & over regulate it where joe six pack wouldn’t be allowed to grow his own. Only philip morris, r j reynolds & the big tobacco companies would have the resources to get a federal permit to grow.

  • Gouv

    Wasn’t the T-Mobile Sidekick one of the most reported stolen phones at one point?

    • http://twitter.com/RapistOnBail Rapist on BAIL

      Yeah! Had my Tony Hawk LX snatched out my hand in the subway. 

      • Realcool2000

        Oh Damn! That sucks! Where u living?

    • JBrowne1012

      I wonder why

  • TMOTECH

    Although the idea and the intent of this by the wireless carriers is a good thing I don’t know why they had to get the federal government involved. it is already illegal to steal a phone and making it more illegal is just silly. Criminals don’t care if it is illegal to commit a crime. They are criminals. One more thing for the Feds to say they need to spend money on and one more way for them to be able to track us and invade our privacy. The carriers could have done this on their own. They already have a interchange that they use to port numbers. It could have been modified to track IMEI numbers and deactivate them without the government being involved.  It is just another thing politicians can say they did for us. Something they can add to the list of reasons why they should be re-elected or re-appointed. 

    • Jdiejejcid

      If a phone becomes effectively unusable when stolen, fewer people will buy stolen phones. Thus, thieves will have less incentive to steal.

      • Purenupe1

         Phones will continue to be stolen for repair parts and personal data. This idea benefits the carriers because not only will the victim  be forced to buy a new phone, but so will the person who would have purchased the stolen phone as a means of avoiding retail prices or contract extension.

        • Frustrated user

           I can wipe my phone data with lookout. Nothing has made me madder than knowing within two houses(50 ft on GPS ) where my phone was but being unable to get police or phone company support to keep it from being used or to recover it. All I really wanted was my memory card back with the pics of my daughter but being that it was 200 miles away with no support I had to lose the memories. This will disincentive the thieves looking for a quick turnaround on craigslist or any other market.

        • Jason Skidmore

          If you can figure out the specific house, I’d say you’ve got enough to file a small claims case against the person who lives there…if they’re stupid enough to steal a phone like that they may be stupid enough to just give it back when they are threatened with civil court.

    • Fabian Cortez

      I agree. This sounds like more government and would likely lead to less privacy.

      As always, the intent behind these pieces of legislation is all rosy but the reality of the situation is that it will be abused.

      I respectfully disagree with David’s opinion about this entire situation.

      There are other ways to deal with this problem.

  • http://tmonews.com David

    Selling a phone on eBay would have absolutely nothing to do with this. That isn’t a stolen phone, that’s hardly what this is about. Don’t get all riled up for that reasoning.

    • ChadBroChillz

      He sold phones that he found, instead of trying to find the owner of the phone. He is upset he cannot go around “finding” phones to sell on eBay.

      To the OP, finders keepers losers weepers is not an actual law. You find it you must try and return it, but if it is not claimed, then it is yours. The guy who sold gizmodo the lost iphone 4 was charged for the exact same crime. I know their editor got raided by the police, but not sure if charged with willfully buying stolen property.

      Personally I think this is awesome. Increase the value of phones in the used market, since stolen phones will not get sold. And I do not have to be as cautious that I am buying stolen property.

      • James

        He “Found” phone he knew were not his, and sold property that didn’tbelong to him. This person is actually admitting to this. Wow! That is illegal.

        I have found phones, and I go out of my way to find the owner.

      • JBrowne1012

        90% of people don’t go out of their way to find an owner of a phone why shun him for doing what the vast majority of people do or would do in his situation? Most people don’t even go through the trouble of reporting their devices stolen because then they’d have to file a police report and wait effortlessly for days to get it back, if even they do get that back. People know its easier just to report them lost and get a replacement thats what most people do regardless the first minute they can’t locate it.

        • ChadBroChillz

          I sure hope more than 10% of people have the decency to do the right thing, which is find the owner. It is not even that hard. open the phone find one contact and call them to tell them their friend/family member lost their phone. replacements cost money. And what right does he have to sell someone else’s property? How can you be angry about the government/carriers stopping you from selling property you did not pay for? What kind of logic is that?

    • JBrowne1012

      Selling phones on ebay have something to do with it. Say someone who didn’t steal the phone did ebay it then sold it, after its sold and the transaction is already done what if just out of spite and dishonesty the seller calls tmo reports it as stolen then the buyer is sol and the seller went ahead and got a replacement? the seller still banked and the only person screwed over was the buyer.

      • ChadBroChillz

        You have the documents that prove you bought the phone legally. Send the information to tmobile and they will clear it for you. I have known people who bought phones that were stolen on tmo network, but proved though email that they did not know it was stole when buying it, and tmobile cleared the phone. Same for people who bought bad esn phones unknowningly, plus ebay is very pro buyer. If you complain, they will take the money out of the sellers bank to reimburse you, but again. If you get the IMEI/ESN prior to the transaction, they you can check it, and finally once you get the phone put it on your account and you should not have a problem. Most CDMA people I know will meet at the store of the carrier, so they can put the ESN on their account before paying to prevent that problem.  

  • stevejobbed

    I know one thing that came up is that T-Mobile didn’t want to play police in personal disputes. Many times a couple may be going through a separation or divorce and a person may report a phone stolen just because they don’t want someone else to use it or someone may have access to another persons ssn or security password and would call in to claim a phone is stolen just to spite another person. 

  • Pantherpride024

    Sounds good in theory but… say john doe steals my at&t phone. Can’t he just activate a line with them not using my phone then switch the sim card into my device and it work… so this is pretty much pointless.

    • LC

      They’re saying they’d block the IMEI on that phone so even if you put a new SIM card in the phone it wouldn’t work.

  • Auser72

    What makes a cellphone different from any other item that gets stolen and sold on the black market? This move from the federal government seems more evasive, and self serving(national database) than helpful.

    • http://chuckheston.myopenid.com/ ChuckHeston

      I’m guessing that the providers went to the FCC to ask for funding, which is probably why the FCC is now involved (if we give you cash, we want a say in the whole thing).  Good idea w/out the government, with the government not so sure.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AWWIKW6MNPUHOC4OVSHWUDWAHM Fabio

    Any eBay seller can sell any phones on eBay all they want. As long as the phone isn’t a stolen phone. STOLEN phones MUST be blocked, criminals shouldn’t be allowed to make profit on other people’s properties! DAMN THIEVES!

    • Jj

      People are being killed and stores being robbed at pinpoint for phones. If its a legitimate phone it can be sold. This is about ten years too late!

  • http://chuckheston.myopenid.com/ ChuckHeston

    It really depends on the individual reporting their phone lost to their provider.  The provider should have the IMEI as long as you purchased it through them.  If you buy a used phone, call the provider and give them the IMEI to check if it’s been reported stolen or lost.  Then, let the provider you are using the phone with that it’s your phone.  As with any “registration” type of scheme, there’s always holes when people go outside of the providers to deal with phones they really want or don’t like.

  • http://chuckheston.myopenid.com/ ChuckHeston

    It’s up to the buyer to make the determination that the phone is ok to buy.  Simply get the IMEI number from the seller, contact the provider stamped on the phone (where the phone originated from) and ask if it’s OK to buy used.  Not really too hard and a heck of a lot easier than dealing with a stolen phone that was locked.

    • Blkbear

       This is already done on Europe, has been for years.  It is about time that the IMEI for US GSM phones can now be blacklisted and deactivated when reported lost or stolen. And if legit as a used phone, there will be no problem in buying or selling. 

      And as Chuck says, you get the IMEI from the seller and check yourself, just like you would with a CDMA phone now, with asking for the ESN to check with the carrier, to see if the phone was reported lost,stolen or the original owner skipped out on paying their bill or ETF.

  • James

    You are trying to start a petition because you like to sell property which is not yours which you “find” Wow!!! Good luck with that.

  • Purenupe1

     Phones will continue to be stolen for repair parts and personal data. This idea benefits the carriers because not only will the victim  be forced to buy a new phone, but so will the person who would have purchased the stolen phone as a means of avoiding retail prices or contract extension. The insurance industry likes this idea because they believe it will be a deterrent to theft, allowing them to further collect your premiums without having to do much in return

  • Guest

    Tmobile has already been doing this. They block the imei. Happened to me when i bought a g2x off craigslist. Low and behold, if you look in the terms and conditions, it says theyll do it if they want if you dont return the phone after cancelling a contract.

  • Going_home

    you know what’s going to happen here.
    with the value plans you have to buy your phone .

    you own the phone out right but if you try to sell it when you buy a new phone you’re going to end up finding the number blocked.

    I don’t agree with this at all .
    what you’re going to see is the carriers blocking all used phones regardless if you own them or not

  • http://twitter.com/RapistOnBail Rapist on BAIL

    Fanboys beware!  Any device with a fruit logo on it is poised to arouse the thieves and criminals. They hold the highest resale value. Non-iPhone users are the ones that can jump and say “hallelujah” because their devices aren’t all that desirable – and classified as laughable to the thieves. Crooks look for the fruit logo then they plan their attack. Trust me I know, the iSnatchings here in Chi-town is absolutely absurd!

    • Fed

      Uh galaxy s2 goes for between 3-400 on craigslist

  • Matb321

    Thieves will still steal phones and pawn them off on a naive honest people looking to buy a phone off craigslist.I sell on craigs and I am shocked that most people dont pop a sim card in to see if they work before i get my money.I always say dontvyou want to make sure it works…and most people just say i believe you.boy are they lucky im honest and would never rip anybody off.

  • JBrowne1012

    I don’t see how this is a good thing at all. The things this will do to the unlocked gsm market, the carrier control over my device, I refuse to give in to caring about security more than freedom, thanks but no thanks anyways im sure there will be a work around to get around it anyways. This just wastes money and time. Furthermore on the money i’m pretty sure what ever costs associated with this will pour over to us. I invest in the unlocked market, that market will disappear once this goes into effect and im not going to always want to pay full price for a phone from the carrier. I highly doubt even 90% percent of the phones that are reported stolen are actually stolen. The phones that get stolen are because of pure stupidity on the owners part just like someone else said. Stolen phones are first lost phones because people don’t keep track off their stuff. 

    • Bernardmickeywrangler

      So by saying you buy from the “unlocked market” as you so eloquently stated. Your saying that you buy stolen phones and your afraid it will drive up the black market price.

      • JBrowne1012

        Nope not at all but i wouldn’t be surprised if one of the devices i have bought from there was “lost” and then recovered but then again… all my devices i buy from people are in the original t-mo packaging. I’m not afraid it’ll drive up as you put it “black market” prices it will discourage people from selling and buying from ebay and craigslist because the carriers, if enacted don’t have to play fair they could blacklist the device if they wanted. Its not even a black market as you put it. Nothing by business without force of some government by force of some people has done any good. Carriers have been doing nothing but screwing people over on costs and this is what this is about.

  • JBrowne1012

    Where do I sign?

  • Justinreynolds98

    There is only one reason and one reason alone they are doing this. That reason is the carriers see the quantity of the phones being sold on Craigslist. They don’t care what happens to your phone once you pay for it or sign the contract but they do care that a lot of people are selling insurance phones and wherever else they get them. This means they aren’t getting the money and more important to them they’re not getting you to sign a new 2 year contract. If this was easy or free they would’ve already doing it, they’re not doing it to help customers, they’re doing it because the money that it will cost them to do it is less than the money they will gain.

  • Justinreynolds98

    There is only one reason and one reason alone they are doing this. That reason is the carriers see the quantity of the phones being sold on Craigslist. They don’t care what happens to your phone once you pay for it or sign the contract but they do care that a lot of people are selling insurance phones and wherever else they get them. This means they aren’t getting the money and more important to them they’re not getting you to sign a new 2 year contract. If this was easy or free they would’ve already doing it, they’re not doing it to help customers, they’re doing it because the money that it will cost them to do it is less than the money they will gain.

    • Going_home

       Well said.

      Follow the money.

      The carriers have, and they arent getting any of it.

      Control is what this is about, you will buy a phone from them or you wont have a phone.

      David Beren  is a useful “tool” in the carriers hands in this case.

      • Guest

        Lol! David is a tool… just kidding, Davy. I see y’alls point. This a money/control issue. CDMA carriers like Sprint have been doing this for years but lack of sim (non gsm based) made things easy for the carrier and tough on thieves. Since the advent of LTE, everything will be gsm (sim) based so this will be an essential yet abused tool for carriers. I guess there will always be negative sides to everything new, old, and current. Such as life.

    • Frigadroid

      I hear ya. Only a dumbass steals a smartphone it’s all about carrier control and the man’s supervision of who’s doing what. I wish the carriers would band together to do something about hacking! I’m more concerned about what could happen when someone can control my phone even when it’s in my possession. Do something for us there t-mobile and then I will stand up and applaud.

    • Ben McRill

      This makes no sense. It’s only for reported STOLEN phones. Not all used phones. If you buy a phone and want to sell it then great, go ahead. This is to stop STOLEN phones form being sold. 

      • http://chuckheston.myopenid.com/ ChuckHeston

        Yeah, given that fact his argument is pretty flat.  The point is, once the contract is signed, what happens to the phone really doesn’t matter.  When I asked TMO about purchasing a used phone off of Craigs List they even told me that it was good that I had the handset insurance cause it’d cover that phone too as long as it was a TMO branded phone.  From my experience, they aren’t really trying to discourage people from buying used phones.  My feeling is that the used phone market actually saves them money.  If you buy a phone and a few months down the road grow to hate it, you are either locked into that phone or get a new one.  Paying retail is stupid, so you go for used.  It saves the provider from dealing with that segment of the market.  The only thing this helps is dropping the incentive of theft by instantly blocking stolen phones*.  

        *Offer valid in the US only.

  • jonathan3579

    Okay, I see this as both good and bad. What about devices that are blacklisted for not paying?

  • Linkable.com

    My guess is that with the mainstreaming of NFC, Google Wallet, and other mobile payment systems, there’s a lot of lobbying going on to ensure that lost phones can be deactivated the same way lost credit cards are. Mobile payments are where things are going, and where money flows, so does regulatory and industry policy.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AWWIKW6MNPUHOC4OVSHWUDWAHM Fabio

    Finally it’s about time the big four joined forces for something good. Smartphone theft has been increasing over the past years. It’s time to put a stop to it! Some good things are happening to the wireless industry!

    First the AT&T T-Mobile merger was blocked, then T-Mobile announced LTE and refarming (making iPhones and other smartphones work on 3G basically more interoperability) AT&T announced they would be unlocking iPhones and now THIS is announced!

    Next good news I want to see… Interoperability of 4G LTE handsets across all four nationwide carriers. Since they’re all going to be using LTE, why not?

  • Wilma Flintstone

    Or if you’re worried about people stealing your phone so much you have a few options:
    1. Don’t use it in public without checking your surroundings.
    2. If somebody does snatch your device, pull out that ol’ trusty 38 and let one rip right into the thief’s buttocks (but of course with the laws today surrounding guns, it’s the thieves that can carry them, not the victims).
    3. Wrap your device around some sort of twine and use it so it won’t go far if it is snatched (lol, highly unlikely and probably very uncomfortable)

    And yes, this is not for the consumer. This banding together is, like others have said, to try and stop people from selling on sites like craigslist etc.

  • Khalints

    Dude finders keepers is not a real thing! Return the phone to the owner!!!

  • http://twitter.com/weekilter Joseph Singer

    It would likely be the IMEI since GSM phones do not use ESNs only CDMA use ESN.

  • http://www.ringcentral.com/phone-service/index.html phone service

    This is really great news, people really this this to
    prevent smartphone theft.

  • http://twitter.com/Gmoney313 GmanN

    good news, but NO MORE LAWS DAMMIT!!!!!

  • Tmoemployee00

    Somewhere at the top of the magenta food chain, someone decided that churn is the primary reason t-mobile can’t claw its way to the top of the wireless race. they feel t-mobile isn’t as profitable as its counterparts because of customers leaving the company due to not being “right-fitted” properly by the front line employees. and while that may be partly true, they turn a blind eye to the misinformation mostly dished out by customer care representives. hilariously, they refuse to acknowledge their lackluster coverage, bad business decisions, and drab device lineup. this what they propose will fix their problem, and how it affects you:

    PHP
    PHP or premium handset protection (a combo of insurance & extended warranty), is offered as an optional add-on to a consumers wireless plan. like every other metric, there is a goal set that associates have to hit every month. no big deal right? wrong. t-mobile thinks that if a customer didn’t leave because of ill right-fitting, then they left because they were victims of a lost/stolen handset and didn’t have insurance on their account to replace said device. and if the customer is dumb enough to decline php in the first place (their words) AND is a long way from their upgrade, that is somehow the associates fault. to punish the associates, meetings are held weekly at 7:am so we can stare at each other. the funny part is the meetings are based on what we are TRENDING so actually, we may end up attaining or even surpassing the goal at the end of the month. to avoid the meeting, even the most trustworthy rep will add php to your account, without your permission. this practice is okay because management (who also gets punished if a certain amount of their associates don’t hit the php goal) will readily credit the account of a customer who had the feature added after they declined it. often times, customers don’t catch it anyway, so both management and associate win. although t-mobile hasn’t bothered to work the kinks out of their reports, associates are still expected to show up to the meetings. asurion themselves have said that customers using unlocked iphones cannot have php, and in fact they will remove php and send the customer a letter in the mail, if it is added to an account using an iphone. so you would think those activations wouldn’t count right? wrong. even customers who activate and just want a sim card because they have an unlocked phone cost us our precious time week after week. it doesnt matter that we didn’t even see the phone (which may be damaged to begin with and if so is technically insurance fraud) if we don’t add php, we’re held accountable. recently, t-mobile has picked up on the fact that just throwing php onto new activations isn’t enough to keep people out of the meetings, so now they’ve started keeping tabs on php added during upgrades. t-mobile doesn’t give a rat’s ass that you have been a customer since we were voicestream and still managed to keep track of your cell phone (thus declining php), they still want that extra $95.88/year/per line from you. and though there are other options (php by itself is just $4.79 monthly), if you don’t add a feature that contains warranty (the part t-mobile gets paid on), it doesn’t count. so in all honesty, they don’t care if you do have insurance, it’s the warranty they’re worried about, which ironically, wouldn’t come in handy if your phone was lost and therefore not helpful in making you keep your account and stay with t-mobile, which was their goal in the first place.

    GOLD BUTTON
    recent system enhancements have brought about something in most accounts called a gold button. we click on the gold button to see what offers you are eligible for. don’t get happy, usually it’s just a signal booster (only for certain customers). sometimes though, if you spend $65+ on data on your account, you get $20 off for 3 months. or they might offer php open enrollment (cuz we’d hate for you to lose that lg gs170 and go get an iphone). whatever it is, we have to discuss it with you. and you have to accept. something, anything, or we’re on the chopping block. AGAIN. although they claim there is a way to track who is actually clicking on the gold button, they don’t take into consideration that sometimes, management will be on the floor (LOL) and looking at a customer’s account while youre logged in and NEVER HIT THE DAMN BUTTON! i guess they (managers) will be more conscious of it once they have to start going to meetings for that too.

    E3
    easypay, ebill, email. along with a mandatory photocopy of your government issued id to go with our paperwork (it’s a “fraud deterrent” they tell us), t-mobile is requiring that an e-mail address be provided with every new account. for what? marketing, bill notifications, etc. no big deal but, the same rules apply for e3 as they do for php, only we can’t unknowingly sign you up for automatic bill pay. too bad for us. to kick it up a notch, t-mobile decided “hey, let’s get people to do easypay because easypay customers are 30% less likely to churn”. not many people object to giving their e-mails, or signing up for ebills (save the planet & t-mobiles cash), but very few customers want easypay. why? not sure. and quite frankly, i don’t care. that is entirely up to the customer but at the end of the day, if you don’t sign up for it, we get punished. and you know what that means? no more kickbacks. no more free sim cards, no more free accessories, no more going above and beyond for you because as long as t-mobile is punishing us for what are rightfully your decisions, we will take it out on you. nothing personal, but that’s how it has to be and i apologize for it.

    i’m going to wrap this up for now, but there will be more later. stay tuned

    • James

      Wow
       

    • Shazzam

      If T-mobile continues to make their prepaid offerings so competitive and pushing their value plans (which require you to pay full-cost for the phone anyway, while paying more than prepaid prices, due to taxes) and getting slammed with PHP), employees of retail stores will be lucky to make any commisions. This is why I stopped working at t-mobile and got a job that does not depend on monthly sales traffic.

    • James

      I don’t like easy pay because I want the opportunity to argue billing mistakes t-mobile makes before they just “take” my money. That way i know if you put that insurance on without me knowing. This post is a great example of how T-mobile is working to improve customer service. If all employees were like this, I’d never set foot in a store.Then again, why go to a store, when you can buy most t-mobile phones brand new and cheeper (full-cost) outside of t-mobile like ebay and amazon, and use their value or prepaid plans, and no extras needed because you already bought the phone.

      T-mobile needs to learn, if they punish customers by adding fees when we buy at the store, we will eventually buy elsewhere. Unless we are hung up on the whole “treat me like I’m special for a day because I’m signing a contract thing”. – Sorry, but considering how much extra you have to pay to get those free phones and discounts, I save a fortune paying full-price and using Prepaid. Android Galaxy s2 at t-mo $600+ plus plan and mandatory data requirement.
      or prepaid, Galaxy s2 on ebay about $475-$550 New, $30-$50 a month prepaid.

  • James

    Here’s my question… What about prepaid phones. I mean, T-mobile has made it very cheap to use prepaid service and many have left contracts and taken prepaid plans, even with high-end data phones you can save so much. But No insurance is availible, so when they are stolen what would we do..Call care and tell them???  I mean, since I don’t have insurance through prepaid, I probably would never report the stolen phone.

    Anybody know how that will work?

  • John Jacob Jingleheimerschmidt

    So the feds will now know my IMEI just by looking in their own database? So they can monitor my whereabouts and conversations? Am I paranoid or patriotic?

  • Jason Skidmore

    This is going to hurt sellers of *stolen* phones…not legitimate used phone sales.  If you are selling legitimate non-stolen phones then why would you oppose this?