Minister of Information Technology and Telecommunication, Diego Molando, announced Friday that by the end of August he will sign an agreement with Brazil to assure that phones stolen in Colombia can not be activated in other countries.
Molando said that such a pact would assure that when users report the robbery of their phones, the stolen cell phones would then not be able to be re-activated in Colombia, or surrounding countries.
Cellphone theft is extremely common in Colombia. According to Tulio Angel, president of the Association of Cellular Telephone Companies (Asocel), 5,373 cell phones were stolen a day on average in Colombia in 2009, with a total of 2.1 million phones over the year. In order to confront this issue, Colombia has already signed an agreement with Ecuador and Mexico to prohibit the re-sale of stolen Colombian phone in other countries.
According to Molando, Colombia will lead the meeting of Organization of American States (OAS) at the end of August to further this issue, and proposes that by the end of 2011 Colombian carriers should be ready to put their plan into action.
However, on the other hand, the minister of technology and communications announced that in order to stop cell phone robberies, cellphone users should be able to be easily identified, so that the SIM card black market is also put to an end.
“We have to be very clear about the fact that soon we will be enforcing these rules and that all SIM cards will be registered to the identification numbers of each cell phone user,” affirmed the minister. He also expressed that only cell phone operators should be legally authorized to sell SIM cards.
Molano explained that to enforce this prohibition, he will have to define the date so that the Communication Regulation Commission can issue regulations pertaining to the decision.
Lastly, Molano announced that next week they will auction a frequency band to create a 30 megahertz cellphone network in Colombia. The government hopes to make $70 million from this sale that will serve to finance internet connections in schools in need throughout Colombia.