Mobile Industry in Côte D’Ivoire Joins Forces with GSMA to Tackle Handset Theft

Côte d’Ivoire Becomes Second Country in Africa to Launch ‘We Care’  

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The GSMA announced today that Côte d’Ivoire’s mobile industry has come
together to support a major new initiative to guard against the use of
stolen devices. The scheme forms part of the launch of the GSMA’s ‘We
Care’ initiative in the country, a series of industry collaborative
actions aimed at providing mobile users with a more secure and reliable
mobile environment.

To mark the opening of the ‘Mobile 360 – West Africa’ event in Abidjan
this morning, representatives from the GSMA; local mobile operators
Moov, MTN and Orange; national operators association UNETEL; and the
ARTCI (Autorité de Régulation des Télécommunications/TIC de Côte
D’Ivoire), agreed to work together to protect citizens and businesses
from stolen or counterfeit mobile devices as well as the fraudulent use
of lost devices, an on-going challenge in the country.

Under the agreement, operators will take steps to upload details of
reported lost or stolen devices to the GSMA IMEI1 database to
share with the wider ecosystem in order to reduce national and
international device crime. Access to the database and industry
collaboration will allow operators to exchange undesirable International
Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) information. The global GSMA IMEI
database is updated daily through reports from more than 100 operators
around the world. The service protects one billion people worldwide.
Around 12 million stolen devices were blocked last year as part of the
scheme.

“With this initiative, mobile operators are taking an active role to
ensure a trustworthy environment for consumers through public-private
collaboration,” said Akinwale Goodluck, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa,
GSMA. “Once implemented, Cote d’Ivoire will be the first country in Sub
Saharan Africa with multi-operator participation in GSMA blacklisting,
essentially providing all customers with the ability to report and block
lost or stolen devices across multiple networks.”

“The ARTCI welcomes the official launch of We Care in Côte d’Ivoire that
aims to protect consumers against the theft of mobile phones, which
often leads to physical aggression and loss of life,” said Diéméléou A.
Bilé, Directeur Général, ARTCI. “The support of the GSMA, to which the
national operators are affiliated, will accelerate this project for a
national, sub-regional (UEMOA / ECOWAS), pan-African or even global
coverage of the service. To this end, I encourage operators in other
African countries, and in ECOWAS countries in particular, to work
towards the implementation of this service in their respective countries
as part of the sub-regional and regional integration.”

Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals
Through the
GSMA’s We Care initiative, operators are taking steps to ensure their
customers are able to enjoy the transformative benefits of mobile
technology in a safe and reliable environment. There are ten focus areas
for We Care: promoting digital inclusion; ensuring child protection;
environmental care (e.g. management of eWaste); disaster response; SMS
spam control; mobile privacy; mobile and health; infrastructure
deployment; contribution to public safety and tackling handset theft.

We Care was launched in Latin America in 2014 and is now running 25
campaigns across the region in collaboration with 55 local operators.
These campaigns support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, allowing
the mobile industry to drive impact at a local level. The launch of the
Child Online Protection industry charter in Kenya in November 20182
was the first We Care initiative deployed in Africa.

Supporting quotes
Gertrude Kone
Kouassi, Executive Director, UNETEL

“UNETEL is pleased to
see the creation of an initiative to fight against handset theft in Côte
d’Ivoire. Under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Digital Economy and
Post, all the stakeholders, namely the Telecommunications/ICT regulatory
body of Cote d’Ivoire (ARTCI), and the private sector represented by the
telecoms operators, have decided to actively participate in the GSMA’s
We Care programme, which will provide a technical platform to facilitate
the neutralisation of terminals after they have been declared stolen.
UNETEL, in its role of helping to implement a consensual approach for
the harmonious development of the sector, will be actively involved with
all stakeholders for a rapid operationalisation of the solution for the
benefit of our citizens”

Lhoussaine Oussalah, Directeur Général,
Atlantique Telecom CI (Moov)

“Atlantique Telecom Côte
d’Ivoire attaches great importance to protecting the personal data of
its customers. This is why we are delighted and take concrete steps to
the fight against the theft of mobile phones, driven in a consensual way
by the GSMA’s actors through the We Care programme. We welcome the
commitment of all stakeholders. This commitment should lead to the
provision of innovative solutions to secure our consumers and build
confidence in the Ivorian telecom industry”

Freddy Tchala, CEO, MTN CI
“As a
responsible corporate citizen, MTN CI constantly cares about the
well-being and safety of the population and especially its subscribers,
and the protection of their property. MTN CI therefore endorses this
great initiative from the actors of our industry to work together to
implement the blocking of lost or stolen terminals, and we pay tribute
to the GSMA for its invaluable support. Together, ‘We Care’!”

Bamba Mamadou, Directeur Général, Orange Côte
d’Ivoire

“We are delighted at the implementation of this We
Care programme, which was driven in close consultation with all telecoms
stakeholders. The active protection of our customers is a priority for
Orange Côte d’Ivoire. As an engaged and digital player, it is our
responsibility to do all we can to reduce the risks associated with our
activities – in this case handset theft.”

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors:
1The GSMA maintains a unique
system known as the International Mobile Equipment Identity Database
(IMEI Db), which is a global central database containing basic
information on the serial number (IMEI) ranges of millions of mobile
devices (e.g. mobile phones, laptop data cards, etc.) in use across the
globe.

The IMEI is a 15-digit number used to identify a device on a mobile
network. The mobile industry uses these identifiers to improve
operations and deter theft and counterfeit. The GSMA provides access to
the IMEI Db to 3GPP network operators, device manufacturers and
qualified industry parties. For further information please see www.gsma.com/services/gsma-imei/imei-blacklisting/

2The first stage in the launch of the GSMA’s We Care campaign
in Africa saw Kenyan MNOs become signatories of a new Child Online
Protection (COP) Charter. The Charter was also backed by the
Communications Authority (CA) of Kenya and the Ministry of Information
and Communications Technology. www.gsma.com/newsroom/press-release/first-gsma-we-care-initiative-launches-in-kenya-focusing-on-online-child-protection/

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting
more than 750 operators and nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile
ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies,
equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in
adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces the industry-leading
MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai, as well
as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com.
Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

Contacts

David Ntwampe Maila
+ 27 72 015 4702
dmaila@webershandwick.com

Beau Bass
+44 79 7662 4962
beau.bass@webershandwick.com

GSMA Press Office
pressoffice@gsma.com