90 days to reclaim blocked SIMs
By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya
Mobile phone users whose SIM cards were blocked after the 31 December 2012 deadline now have 90 days to reclaim their numbers.
Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) Director General Mr. Francis W. Wangusi has urged consumers who have not registered their lines to do so within the 90day period before their SIM cards are permanently de-activated.
Consumers are required to register simcards with their respective mobile operators as the government plans crack down on criminals who use mobile phones to defraud unsuspecting victims.
The registration covers lines belonging to children under the age of 18 and SIM cards used in modems or any other data devices such as iPads, iPhones and Tablets.
In Kenya there have been reports of hard core criminals in prison using unregistered numbers to threaten or blackmail phone users for selfish interests.
Criminals are also known to use mobile phones to coordinate kidnappings and extortions.
According to CCK, the four local mobile networks had by Friday switched off 1,280,840 unregistered lines, five days after the expiry of the December 31 deadline.
Safaricom leads the pack with 800,000 unregistered SIM cards already off-air. Yu and Orange have suspended 290,000 and 120,010 unregistered lines from service, respectively. Airtel on the other hand has switched off 70,830 unregistered SIM cards.
Releasing the statistics, CCK Director General Mr. Francis W. Wangusi attributed delays in disconnection of the more than six million unregistered SIM cards to verification of registration data received from mobile line dealers and agents countrywide.
“The verification exercise is quite involving as the mobile operators have to ensure that no registered mobile line is suspended from service,” said Mr. Wangusi.
To register, all a phone user needs to do is visit any of his mobile service provider operator shop, dealer or agent carrying official identification documents.
Those who have registered on mobile money transfer services like M-PESA Yu cash and Airtel Money and have not updated their physical address, postal address and alternative number also need to do so.