IF you had not registered your simcard by yesterday's deadline, you could completely lose your line in three months time following the government switch-off plan that begun last midnight.
Communications Commission of Kenya said yesterday that over 80 per cent of the active 30 million mobile phone service subscribers has registered their simcards with the various telecommunications companies as at Friday 28 December.
Yesterday, long queues were witnessed at various customer care centres in the country as cellphone users made a last minute dash to register their lines following the government directive that was first issued in May 2010.
"All simcards that wil be suspended from service that will not have been registered by the end of 90 days will be deactivated permanently and the numbers made available for reassignment to new subscribers," said CCK's director of consumer and public affairs Mutua Muthusi yesterday.
CCK and telecommunications companies have in the last three months stepped up consumer campaigns to get subscribers to register their phone numbers.
As at Friday last week, Safaricom had the highest number of registered subscribers who stood at 16.7 million compared to the total subscriber base of 19.6 million. This translates to 85.2 per cent registration rate.
Airtel came in second having registered 3,877,475 subscribers compared to the 4.7 million customers it has, translating to a rate of 82.5 per cent.
Essar's Yu mobile phone service brand registered 2,101,602 subscribers as at end of day last Friday, a 65 per cent registration rate.
Orange came in last with only 61 per cent of its subscribers having been registered translating to 2,001,397 out of the active 3,279,590 total subscriber number.
Modem users were also required to register their simcards to avoid switch off by December 31. According to the CCK, there are 15 million active internet users in Kenya.
"The use of mobile handsets for hate speech, terrorism and other forms of crimes has no place in the safe and secure Kenya that we all aspire to," said Muthusi. "The switch-off of unregistered simcards and the recent deactivation of counterfeit mobile handsets should be seen from this perspective."
Muthusi added that it will now be harder for criminals to buy lines and discard them after using them to commit a crime. Kenyans in the diaspora, he said will not be spared either. CCK said they should find a way to register their lines before the lapse of the 90 day period.
Safaricom's director of corporate affairs Nzioka Waita said he expected the customer centres to have influx of customers late into the night but was not committed to open these centres up during the New Year public holiday today.