Mobile operators said that they are in the process of blocking the devices that were stolen during July’s looting. File picture: Pexels
Mobile operators said that they are in the process of blocking the devices that were stolen during July’s looting. File picture: Pexels

How mobile networks block phones that were stolen and what to do if you were wrongly blacklisted

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Sep 3, 2021

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Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, and Cell C said that they are in the process of blocking the devices that were stolen during July’s looting.

A number of companies have taken steps to block or blacklist products that were stolen during the wave of violence. Samsung and Dell have confirmed that they have blocked their devices in a bid to stop illegal sales.

What is a network block and how does it work?

When a mobile operator does a network block, it nullifies any network’s SIM card from being used in blacklisted handsets.

In the event of a stolen phone or, if you don’t pay your contract bill, operators will usually block your phone from connecting to one of their networks by blacklisting the device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number.

This block will decrease its functionality, barring you from making calls, messaging, or using the internet.

What do I do if my phone has been wrongly blacklisted?

While blocking and blacklisting is effective if your phone gets stolen, there could be instances where you have been wrongly blacklisted.

Vodacom customers are required to fill out a request form, check the “un-blacklist” box and email it to [email protected] You will also need a proof of identity.

MTN customers who were wrongly blacklisted can get their phone unblocked once proof of legitimate ownership has been validated and verified.

This is strictly in cases where the blacklisted device has been recovered.

Telkom users are advised to visit a Telkom branded store with documents to verify the device was not stolen and that you were wrongly blacklisted.

On the other side of the coin, in the event that your phone was stolen, this is what you should do:

Firstly, ask your service provider to block your SIM card.

Request your cellphone’s IMEI number from your service provider.

Once you have sorted everything out with the service provider, report the theft to the police. Ask the police to supply you with a case number.

Contact your service provider again and supply them with the case number and IMEI number and request that they blacklist your cellphone.

Last but not least, notify your insurance company.

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