Kenya effects war against counterfeit phones
GOVERNMENTBy BiztechAfrica - Oct. 2, 2012, 6:13 a.m.
By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya
Around two million Kenyans using counterfeit phones will be forced to acquire genuine ones following the much anticipated switch-off of all fake handsets.
Leading mobile operator Safaricom says the mandatory exercise, which began at midnight on September 30, 2012 impacted over 680,000 customers out of its 19.1 million subscriber base.
The Industry regulator, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), had issued the directive to the industry compelling all service providers to ensure that counterfeit phones were blocked from accessing Kenyan mobile networks with effect from September 30 2012.
Although Safaricom said that it was too early to assess the financial implications of the blocking exercise, it confirmed that initial analysis of the customers impacted so far clearly indicated that the areas around Nairobi, Rift Valley, Central and Eastern were hardest hit by the exercise. Combined, these areas accounted for more than 60% of the targeted counterfeit phones.
“We deeply regret the inconvenience and anxiety that this exercise has caused amongst our customers. We realise that they have little to do with presence of these counterfeit devices in the country and it is unfortunate that they have had to shoulder the negative consequences of the same. In order to mitigate the inconvenience we have been contacting all affected customers and providing them with the option of purchasing affordable genuine phones or redeeming their Bonga Loyalty Scheme Points for new handsets,” said Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.
Collymore urged all operators to play their part and diligently block the counterfeit devices based on lists they receive from the other networks.
“We recognise that blocking handsets alone is not the long term solution and we call for more support to the CCK by related Government agencies to block entry and sale of the counterfeit devices and to step up prosecution of those who engage in their illegal importation and sale.”
He called on the Government to reconsider the impending decision to impose VAT on mobile phones saying that the move would make genuine mobile phones unaffordable to the majority of Kenyans and instead fuel the black market trading of counterfeits.
The number of counterfeit handsets in use around the country is estimated at over two million, and it is feared that once switched off the handsets will end up in landfills, contributing to the growing e-waste threat in the country.
A research conducted by Nokia in late 2011 indicated that only 14% of Kenyans were aware that mobile phones could be recycled, and only 2% were actively recycling these devices.
MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS
Smart city numbers set to soarThe number of smart cities worldwide will quadruple within a 12-year period that started last year, according to a new report from IHS Technology. Read More
NCS: deploy CCTV to tackle insecurityThe President of the Nigerian Computer Society, Prof. David Adewumi, has urged the Federal Government to invest massively on the installation of Close Circuit Television, CCTV, in strategic places across the nation to address security challenges. Read More
Kenyan capital adopts e-payment systemThe Nairobi City County Government has moved to ease payment for services and streamline revenue collection by switching to e-payments. Read More
Congo-Brazzaville to launch digital governance agencyThe Republic of Congo will soon launch a digital governance agency, to monitor and control the implementation of the country’s ICT projects. Read More
Malawi launches Internet Governance ForumThe Malawi Government and Nepad have launched the Malawi Internet Governance Forum in an effort to bring a semblance of order to the internet services in the country. Read More
Environmentalists welcome improved technologyParticipants in a recent Monitoring For Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) conference in Botswana were upbeat about the new technologies that MESA is harnessing. Read More
Kaberuka addresses Africa’s infrastructure gap at OECDAfrican Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka made a strong case for the importance of tackling private investment impediments in the African infrastructure agenda during the joint AfDB, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and International Growth Center (IGC) event in Paris. Read More
Kenya inaugurates USACKenya’s new Universal Service Advisory Council (USAC) has been inaugurated by the Cabinet Secretary, Information, Communications and Technology. Read More
Education Minister: ICT vital in schoolsBotswana’s Acting Minister of Education and Skills Development, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has called for an increased uptake of ICTs in all schools in the country. Read More
FEATURED STORYWidening ICT skills gap: Cause for concern
Nigeria's FDI gains could be eroded by the widening gap in indigenous skilled ICT manpower, writes Kokumo Goodie.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHKenya rolls out e-extension to improve agriculture
In a bid to curb the overwhelmed number of agricultural extension officers in Kenya, the ministry of agriculture is embracing technology with their introduction of E-Extension services, which are aimed at reaching out to over 7 million farmers annually.