September 21, 2015 12:01
Half of all the 2 million-plus mobile phones that are lost in taxis, restaurants or elsewhere are not returned to their owners.
According to records submitted to the National Assembly by mobile carriers, 2.35 million mobile phones were lost in 2014 and only 1.26 million returned to their owners.
The chances of recovering a lost mobile phone are getting slimmer each year. Three years ago, there was a 66 percent chance or two out of three, but that fell to 51 percent in the first half of this year. One of the reasons is the increasing price tag of high-end smartphones, which now cost an average of W900,000 (US$1=W1,163).
Using a lost smartphone is tantamount to theft and can carry a prison term of up to six years. But finders often try to sell lost phones on the Internet, mostly on the second-hand markets in China or other countries because telecom providers here blacklist the serial numbers of lost phones.
Once a phone is reported lost, mobile carriers block the devices from making calls and only allow them to receive incoming calls and their locations are tracked by GPS.
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