LIME’s Broadband A Tough Squeeze – Are LIME And Digicel Blocking the IMEIs Of Stolen Mobile Phones?

Posted as a comment to BU blog – Clarity Needed In Broadband Speed Sold By LIME In Barbados

LIME’s biggest problem is that they simply do not have the bandwidth available to share among it’s current subscriber base. When they first introduced ADSL their customers actually got what they were paying for. Now, the network is so congested that everyone has to fight for a piece, and this problem is especially bad in heavily populated areas where one or two fibre links have to serve a single exchange from which thousands of phone lines are served.

To their defense however, they have been constantly upgrading and installing mini exchanges all over the island to circumvent this problem, but it’s not enough. And what’s more is that they’ve increased contention ratio which only compounds the problem. I’m speaking subject to correction here but the last I heard is that it’s set at 50:1, which means that if you’re paying for 8Mb/s, then you have to share that between 8Mb/s of bandwidth with 49 other users… I don’t know about you, but that’s unacceptable considering the rates  that they’re charging when we see what they’re offering in other islands like Grenada. If they charge the same rates here that do in Grenada, then an 8Mb/s connection would be $120.66 BDS Incl VAT! A 2Mb/s connection would be $59.90 BDS incl VAT!

Haven’t you ever noticed that the internet is slower during the day (business hours) than it is at night? I can’t wait for Digicel to start offering their WiMax service for residential use…

Nuff said!

0 thoughts on “LIME’s Broadband A Tough Squeeze – Are LIME And Digicel Blocking the IMEIs Of Stolen Mobile Phones?

  1. Today on the call in listeners were informed what some of us always have known. If you enter *#06# on your mobile or if you have your IMEI number the carriers (Digicel/LIME) are able to disable a mobile phone when reported. The big question asked on another blog: do these carriers block, create a database which list stolen phones and whether requests to add services to phones at Digicel/LIME locations scan the stolen IMEI database if one exist.

    Such a procedure would go a long way to counter the cellphone tieffin business which is on the rise.

  2. @David…

    If you are using a Blackberry you have to go to Options -> Status rather than simply entering “*#06#”. Therein you will find your IMEL.

    Otherwise, take your battery out of the back of your Blackberry, iPOD or Android device, and you will find your IMEL printed in a 5 or 4 point font.

    Of course, all of the above assumes you have your cellphone currently in your hand, rather than already having it stolen…

    If it has been stolen, you should contact your service provider immediately. They will know the IMEL number.

  3. I have called both LIME and Digicel about this and they have both told me that they cannot and will not block any IMEI numbers from using their their network, so if your phone is stolen, you’re up sh!t creek!

  4. @dbain

    Can the carrier handle stolen phones by signing them onto their networks?

    It’s not affecting them because they are making money when the phone signs unto their network, and when the original owner buys a new phone.

  5. I remember years ago when my Motorola RAZR cellphone was stolen & I swiftly headed to LIME to get it blocked & they told me that they do not offer that privilege; so YES! I was up sh!t creek on that one.

    I think it is piss poor & lame of them to not act on that because if they do, then people would have no reason to steal a cellphone since they wouldn’t be able to use it; but hey, they don’t care – more money from me & money from the thieves is what floats their boat…

    Both LIME & Digicel are opportunists just like the damn cellphone thieves!

  6. Deal with the University of the West Indies and the Crumpton Street posse who produce candidates like the CEO of Lime who produce NOTHING but only serve to exploit Barbadians as they serve foreign interests. The educational process ’bout hey stinks. His predecessor Donald and a good few others at LIME and indeed the FTC represent the cream of the crop of the local academic establishment. They all now just survive as bottom feeders … like Chris (and David lol)!

  7. Is the Prime Minister responsible for Telecommunications?

    Can we petition him to change the law where these service providers will have to register the IMEI number and block them when a phone is stolen?

    The same way they can turn off your account when you do not pay the technology can block the stolen phone.

  8. Has anyone notice the piss poor quality of LIME since Saturday?

    They did an upgrade, a migration to a new switch and it made things worse.
    (S)LIME is yet to come out and say anything about this but can talk shite on TV about WiFi. What is the use of WiFi if the damn cell cant make a call.
    In the Black Rock area it is so bad that you are getting recordings saying the number is not a recognized, Then you are connected to wrong number when you finally do get a connection.
    My cell is stuck at GSM most of the day….stupse.
    Cant even get through to the contact centre.

  9. @dbain
    In some countries phone providers are prohibited from blocking cell phones. Some countries providers are encouraged to suspend the service when the owner of the phone is reported stolen and provide a replacement SIM card. You should asked LIME and Digicel why they are refusing to block a service when the phone is reported stolen.

  10. Does anyone know what the official position is on the question of blocking IMEIs in Barbados?

    Chris given your role as a consumer advocate and IT Speciist you should have access to this info?

  11. @David et al…

    As Clone above points out, it is technically trivial to block a phone from accessing the network. They do it every day — whenever someone’s “prepaid” funds run out or the “postpaid” customers haven’t paid their bill.

    My advice, as a geeky consumer advocate, is anyone who has their cell phone stolen should first report it to the police, not their service provider.

    The reason is someone who has stolen a cell phone is very possibly also involved with other illegal activity, and so rather than blocking a stolen phone, “lawful interception” of that phone’s usage might be very fruitful for further law enforcement activities.

    And please note it is possible to determine the geospatial position of any cell phone at any point in time to within about five meters, even if said device doesn’t have a GPS receiver. This involves analysing the signals received by the cell base stations — not only the base station handling the cell phone at the moment receives their signals, and the base stations have military grade time signals. This can be post-processed so long as the data is collected.

    But a very important point: once the report has been made to the police, the customer should be exposed to no further charges while the police conduct their investigations.

    As an aside, and additional advice: I am always amazed by how few cell phone owners have a password on their phone which prevents usage (other than incoming call reception).

    Yes, it means you have to enter your password each time you want to use your phone, but as always, security and convenience are opposing. Wouldn’t it be much more convenience to be able to enter your house or use your car without using a key?

    How many would ever do that?

  12. @Chris

    Have you factored that the police getting customer info is not as routine as you have made it.

    The question remains, are we having collaboration between the carriers and the police on the tieffin of mobile phones.

  13. @David: “The question remains, are we having collaboration between the carriers and the police on the tieffin of mobile phones.

    I have to be very careful what I say to this question…

    But I think I can safely say that from what I know, the Police and the Carriers do not have as close a relationship as we need.

  14. When you lose you cell phone you have to buy a new phone but you keep your old number.

    The thief can call the service provider and get a new plan on the stolen phone.

    That is how it used to be in Toronto until someone suggested that the service providers were profiting from stolen goods and were an accessory after the fact or some such legal definition.

  15. @Hants: “That is how it used to be in Toronto until someone suggested that the service providers were profiting from stolen goods and were an accessory after the fact or some such legal definition.

    “Accessory after the fact” is the exact legal definition.

    Can you provide we simple Bajans with prior example(s) of legal precedent?

  16. If the Senate of Barbados was not a toothless tiger, the preserve of political aspirants, perhaps Senator Sandiford Garner might have found a way to champion legislation which forces LIME, Digicel and any other carrier to comply with blocking IMEIs and any other initiative to help.

  17. @ Chris Halsall,

    We have to be careful that “lawful interception” doesn’t turn into “invasion of privacy!” If they can scope in on the criminals, they can scope in on the innocents too!

    Wire tapping, car following, house watching…that sort of thing…very antsy stuff!

  18. @seeker… Absolutely agree.

    This was debated at some length at the HIPCAR review of the BB cybercrime legislation.

    A court order is required for interception of communications by the police (or, more accurately, by the service providers upon request of the police) to be lawful.

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