Device theft is never a pleasant experience. It really sucks when you find that someone has stolen your iPod from your gym locker, because it means that you’ll have to head back out and buy another one. Getting your cell phone stolen is even worse, because you are effectively incommunicato until you get a replacement. Rogers Wireless feels your pain.
In an effort to minimize the number of “five-finger discounts” and rogue thefts, Rogers is launching what it calls the Equipment Identity Register (EIR) program. In effect, each time that you get a new Rogers handset, you can choose to register the IMEI with the network. If you report that your phone is stolen, that IMEI is added to a registry of stolen phones.
Phones that are a part of that register are effectively prevented from being used on not only the Rogers network, but on over 40 GSM carriers from around the world. Someone stole your N95? If the IMEI is registered, the phone can be rendered useless and, thus, not at all valuable to the thief.
That’s from the consumer side of things. The bigger reason why Rogers is implementing the Equipment Identity Register is that the corporate stores (as well as dealer stores for Fido and Rogers) have been experiencing an increased level of theft. They’re also getting their phones stolen at various shipping and logistics points and, well, they’re tired of it. In this way, EIR is more about loss prevention than being a theft deterrent on the consumer end.
UPDATE: My suspicions were correct. This system, for now, is purely for inventory control and not for customers themselves. According to the PR rep:
The option to contact customer care to be put on the EIR list is not available at this time. Our EIR is for inventory allocation at this stage and we are currently reviewing the capabilities to incorporate our customer base at a future date.