US cellcos getting shirty with PAYG box-breakers

It seems that US mobile carriers are getting shirty with entrepreneurs who are buying up cheap PAYG cellphones, unlocking them and selling them outside the US for juicy profits.

In the UK it's called box-breaking and, whilst the networks frown on such behaviour, our free market means its not illegal.

In the US it apparently is, as the carriers call it mobile phone trafficking.

Myself, I think the US cellcos have only themselves to blame, as reports suggest that pre-pay mobiles are going for as little as $15.00 - less than eight quid - in some US outlets.

Newswire reports suggest that some traffickers employ dozens of people full-time to buy pre-pay mobiles unobtrusively and then pool them for mass unlocking.

The scale of the problem is shown in this picture here.

Can the mobile networks stop the problem? Well, it's illegal in many states, but they doesn't stop people from doing it.

And if they can crack an iPhone 3G in 24 hours...