Cell Phone Stolen

A word of advice: Don’t ever leave your cell phone in a theme park.

That’s what happened to me on Thursday night, and in less than 5 minutes (the

time it took for me to walk away, realize I didn’t have it, and go back) it was gone. If this were a normal cell phone, I wouldn’t be quite so annoyed about it. Unfortunately, it was an i-mate JasJar. Since there are not very many of these in the U.S. (at least not where I live), I would be very surprised if someone turned it in to customer service at the park.

I had been planning on getting a new phone anyway, probably waiting until the new i-mate Ultimate line comes out in a few months. This just forces the issue, although I’ll probably buy another JasJar from someone at work who doesn’t use his.

The unfortunate thing about all of this is that while I can call my cell provider and have the SIM card deactivated for 30 days (which I did immediately), there is no way to report the IMEI number so the other carriers can watch for it showing up on their networks. If I lived outside of the U.S., my carrier most likely would have reported the IMEI number to the  national EMEI Database to have it added to the black list. The black list is a list of IMEIs that are associated with GSM or 3G devices that should be denied service on mobile networks because they have been reported as lost, stolen, faulty or otherwise unsuitable for use.

There are over 40 operators connected to the IMEI Database from about 20 countries, but the U.S. isn’t one of them.

The U.S. has always had issues with our cellular providers compared to overseas. We have a mix of competing standards for cell phone and data signals, crazy price plans, poor (or at least limited) technical quality and features from the cell providers, and a general lack of interoperability and cooperation between carriers.

Isn’t it time the U.S. cellular providers caught up with the rest of the world and started actually offering features and services that we want at reasonable rates? If I want a new phone, I should be able to buy the phone I want and use the carrier I want. I don’t want to have to look for unlock codes or be locked in to only buying from a certain provider because they have the phone I want.