September 20, 2021 | 00h00
MANILA, Philippines – Incidents of lost or stolen phones have declined dramatically over the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to stay at home.
Cell phone blocking issues reported by consumers to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) declined last year, and even more so this year, indicating fewer people are having their phones stolen.
In 2019, the NTC received a total of 34,353 cell phone blocking issues, an average of 2,863 per month, according to data provided to The STAR.
Cell phone blocking, according to the NTC, refers to stolen and lost phones.
Last year, the number of cell phone locks fell to 15,445, or 55%.
In the first three months of 2020, when lockdowns were yet to be imposed, incidents of stolen and lost phones reported to the NTC averaged 2,790 per month.
The average fell to just 786 per month from April to December of last year, with various quarantine restrictions already in place across the country.
In the first six months of the year, NTC received no cell phone blocking issues from consumers.
NTC’s head of consumer welfare and protection, Xandra Molina, said it would be safe to assume fewer people lose or have their phones stolen than in the days before the pandemic because most people have stayed at home or have limited their outdoor exposure due to restrictions.
NTC’s Consumer Welfare and Protection Division deals with issues such as blocked cell phones as well as complaints such as intermittent and poor internet connection, surprise bills and data charges, spam by SMS, loss of charge, unwanted calls or texts and the fair use policy.