BlogThe Kill Switch Conundrum Revisited

The Kill Switch Conundrum Revisited

April 18, 2014, Mobility / Service Support

In a previous blog about six months ago I posed the question of whether or not the wireless carriers with their policies concerning lost or stolen devices were actually bigger crooks than the phone thieves themselves.  My issue with the carriers, and CTIA, was their refusal to implement a “kill switch” that would allow a phone owner to remotely brick a phone if it was ever stolen.  It seems like a relatively logical idea that would curb phone theft, but the carriers know where their bread is buttered.  The device market in the U.S. is worth a whopping $70 billion!  Legislation to require the kill switch has been introduced in both houses of Congress, but no votes have taken place.  Surprised?  Me neither.

This exact story found its way into the mainstream media last week and this time there was some valid research to back up my harebrained argument.  An associate professor at the Creighton University Heider College of Business, William Duckworth, released new research that showed consumers overwhelmingly support the idea of the kill switch idea.  And to really sweeten the pot, the research shows that consumers could save up to $2.6 billion annually if a kill switch was made mandatory on all phones.  Yes, you read that correctly, $2.6 billion with a “B”!

There were two main financial figures that were factored in to develop the savings estimate: $580 million in annual cost to replace stolen phones and $4.8 billion in annual insurance fees.  The belief is that the replacement costs would nearly be wiped out and a large portion of the insurance fees could be eliminated.  To put it in some perspective, it has been reported that 1.6 million phones were stolen during 2012.

In my opinion we are still some time away from seeing a mandatory kill switch in phones, so does your company have a replacement strategy in place?  Your company will be subjected to the trials and tribulations of the carrier costs without one.  I recommend looking into an advanced exchange depot so end users can maintain connectivity and the company can control costs in a manner that benefits both.  And just maybe, we can stop the carriers from looking like Scrooge McDuck sliding down a pile of money every time a phone gets up and walks off.