Fake phone switch-off reprieve


Image: Acting CCK DG Francis Wamukota Wangusi. By BiztechAfrica
Acting CCK DG Francis Wamukota Wangusi

Kenya’s ICT sector regulator, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), has announced the extension of the disconnection deadline from the end of December to April 30 next year.

Acting CCK Director-General Francis Wangusi said the extension was necessitated by the need to first undertake a consumer awareness campaign and also for the industry to establish a mechanism through which consumers could confirm the status of their mobile device.

The extension will also allow mobile operators to undertake the requisite technical preparations in readiness for disconnecting counterfeit handsets.

The extension will provide the affected mobile subscribers with more time to replace their mobile handsets in view of the prevailing hard economic realities in the country.

Wangusi said the industry was exploring the possibility of putting in place a system through which subscribers would be able to interrogate a central database via SMS to verify whether their devices are genuine or not.

Regulatory concern over counterfeit handsets stems from the fact that counterfeit devices deny manufacturers revenue through counterfeit production of their products.

In addition, use of counterfeit handsets may expose consumers to safety and health risks as the phones may not meet the approved radiation standards. Further counterfeit devices typically enter markets via unofficial channels thus denying the government of revenue.

According to industry statistics, close to 2.4 million mobile phones in the market are counterfeit, representing 9.39 % of the active mobile devices in the country.

The ongoing initiative to rid Kenya of counterfeit mobile phones is driven by CCK in conjunction with industry players, handset manufacturers, and other relevant government agencies including KeBS, Office of the President, Anti-Counterfeit Agency, and the Kenya Revenue Authority.

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