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Orange woos subscribers ahead of counterfeit deadline

By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya

Orange has launched a genuine mobile handsets campaign dubbed Chagua Original (Choose original), through which subscribers will be able to purchase 3G-enabled devices at discounted prices of up to 60%.

During the campaign period, which began on Tuesday, subscribers purchasing smartphones or 3G devices at all Orange shops will also benefit from one month's free internet access as well as free access to Wikipedia and Facebook.

The devices that form part of the Chagua Original promotion range in price from Ksh 599 (down from the earlier price of Ksh 999) for the ZTE S309 handset to the ZTE San Francisco retailing at Ksh 7,999 (down from Ksh9,999). Also on offer is the recently launched Huawei Gaga which goes for Ksh 5,999 (instead of Kshs 8,799).

The Chagua Original promotion comes just a month ahead of the government’s move to switch-off all counterfeit devices on all of the country’s four mobile networks by September 30 this year.

“We aim to ensure that none of our over 3 million plus subscribers is affected by the switch-off on September 30. As part of this, we have launched various competitively priced but high quality devices that can be purchased from Orange shops,” said Telkom Kenya CEO Mickael Ghossein.

The telecoms industry regulator Communications Commission of Kenya’s (CCK) has recently announced that all devices with non-authentic Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers would be disconnected from networks by September 30.

The IMEI number - the 15-digit code that every mobile handset is always assigned upon manufacture by the vendor – can be obtained by dialing *#06# or printed under battery for some models.

The number is used by mobile networks to identify genuine devices and can thereby be used to guard against phone theft as all devices which have been reported stolen are stopped from accessing the network.

When say a mobile phone user loses a handset, the subscriber can call the mobile network provider and instruct them to blacklist the phone using its IMEI number, thereby rendering the phone useless on that particular network as well as other networks, whether the SIM is changed or not.

To check if a phone is counterfeit, any user can send its phone IMEI number to 1555, and will automatically receive an answer. The CCK campaig aims to guard against mobile phone theft as well entry as of substandard devices into the country.

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