Kenya to switch off over 6 mln of unregistered SIM cards
NAIROBI, Dec 31, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
Kenya's telecommunication sector
regulator said it will switch off about 6.05 million subscribers
who have not registered their SIM cards as at midnight on Monday.
Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) Consumer and Public
Affairs Director Mutua Muthusi told journalists in Nairobi that
some 80.4 percent (24.79 million) of mobile phone users had
registered their SIM cards ahead of the switch-off deadline.
"I am pleased to note that the initial media campaign was quite
successful as the proportion of registered SIM cards rose from 41
percent to 81 percent. Over time and due to cut-throat competition
in the market as well as lack of an enabling legal framework, SIM
card vendors relapsed to their old ways of selling SIM cards
without first registering them," Muthusi said.
"As a result, the proportion of the registered SIM cards fell
below 70 percent within a year, putting the country at a greater
security risk in view of the increasing levels of terrorist
attacks, hate speech and other forms of crime."
He said there will be no extension of time for unregistered
phone mobile users and their SIM cards will be off-service after
the lapse of the deadline.
According to Muthusi, suspended SIM cards that will not have
been registered by the end of 90 days will be de-activated
Muthusi noted that with the deactivation of counterfeit
handsets and registration of all active SIM cards, law enforcement
agencies shall now find it easier to track down those using mobile
phones for criminal activities.
"This is particularly important in securing our country as the
nation prepares for the next general elections in March 2013. The
days of purchasing SIM cards and discarding them at will after
misuse are now over. Ultimately, this will go a long way in
minimizing the misuse of our telecommunications numbering
resources," he warned.
He said majority of consumers have heeded the industry
regulator's appeal and registered their SIM cards
"As at Friday, Dec. 28, 80.4 percent of all active mobile lines
in the country had been registered. I wish to call on those who
have not registered their mobile lines to do so immediately as the
Commission has no intention whatsoever of extending the deadline
after mid-night today," he said.
Muthusi said CCK has an obligation as an industry to ensure
that public confidence in Information and Communication Technology
(ICTs) is maintained and enhanced by making all communications
platforms, including mobile telephony, secure to deliver on the
sector targets as set out in Vision 2030.
"Usage of ICTs must also be in furtherance of the wider good of
society and our economy. The use of mobile handsets for hate
speech, terrorism and other forms of crimes has no place in the
secure and safe Kenya that we all aspire to," he said.
"The switch off of unregistered SIM cards and the recent
deactivation of counterfeit mobile handsets should be seen from
This is the CCK's second attempt to block unregistered SIM
cards after a 2010 attempt was derailed by a lack of laws to
support the process. The regulator had authorized mobile operators
to switch off nearly 1.5 million fake phones.
The liberalization of the mobile telecoms market has witnessed
massive uptake of mobile telecommunications services in the East
To date, Kenya has more than 30 million mobile subscribers, and
close to 15 million regular Internet users.
Muthusi said Kenya's ICT sector has won global acclaim for
innovation, particularly in mobile money services and other
financial applications and services.
"As the ICT sector regulator, CCK shall continue to foster
sector growth and innovation with a view to ensuring that ICTs
remain one of the key drivers of growth of our economy," he said.
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