Kenyans rush to beat SIM reg deadline

By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya

As expected of Kenyans and deadlines, mobile phone company outlets were turned into a beehive of activity on Friday as phone users rushed to have their SIMs registered. Kenyans have until Sunday to register all SIM cards or be disconnected.

There are close to 30 million mobile phone users in Kenya.

A Kenyan government directive requires that ALL phone numbers MUST be registered by 31st December 2012.

This includes 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.

According to the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) director, Francis Wangusi, the exercise had experienced challenges arising from lack of national identity cards among many mobile users but said the cases will be dealt with individually.

A week ago, Safaricom said it had registered 90% of its users and Essar Telecom said only 34% of its customers had registered.

Airtel to had reported registering over 80% of its subscribers,

The regulator said it is compiling the total number of lines registered, to be announced by end of the month.

Most Kenyans who talked to BiztechAfrica seemed ignorant of the requirement to register even numbers used in modems.

“I did not know I also need to register my modem SIM card…I thought the directive applies only to phone SIM cards,” said Mercy Ometar, a Nairobi resident.

According to Communication Commission of Kenya, SIM card registration is important, as it will help reduce SIM related crimes, which include hate messages, kidnappings, fraud in mobile money and many others.

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.

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