Kenya to Start Blocking Fake Phones From Next Month
Kenyans using counterfeit mobile phones have until September 30 to replace their handsets or risk disconnection. The Director General of the telecoms regulator, the CCK, Mr. Francis W. Wangusi today said there would be no further extensions of the switch-off deadline.
"For avoidance of doubt, we wish to categorically state here and now that there shall be no further extension of the deadline," said the Director General.
He said CCK has already carried out an adequate public awareness to sensitize consumers on counterfeit mobile phones and the dangers associated with use of such devices.
Addressing the media at the Information and Communications offices in Nairobi, Mr. Wangusi said CCK had, in liaison with device manufacturers, set up an intelligent database for use by subscribers to verify the status of their handsets.
To date close to 10 million queries have been made to the system out of the total 29.7 m subscribers in the country, representing slightly more than a third of the total mobile subscription base.
"We have noted with satisfaction that the number of confirmations through the system have been increasing dramatically as the deadline for the switch-off approaches. We urge Kenyans to confirm the status of their handsets in good time to avoid disconnection…," said Mr. Wangusi.
The database works by way of sending an SMS bearing the 15-digit number unique to each handset (also known as the International Mobile Equipment Identifier - IMEI) to 1555. The first three confirmatory SMS messages to the system are free of charge, after which the normal SMS rates apply.
Mr. Wangusi further urged subscribers to send the correct IMEI to the database to avoid receiving negative responses. Some subscribers have been sending SMS messages bearing IMEIs of less than the 15 digits.
Mr. Wangusi called on all Kenyans to support what he called "this noble initiative" which he claimed would help secure the country from the threat of terrorism, lawlessness and political violence.