5 January 2013

Kenya: Telecom Operators Deactivating Idle SIM Cards First

Photo: The Star
A poster encouraging people to give up their fake phones.

Mobile Communications service providers are deliberately delaying the process of disconnecting unregistered SIM cards to give room for users to register

According insiders requesting anonymity say the operators have started with a cleanup exercise to terminate inactive unregistered SIM numbers resulting in the numbers so far declared as switched off.

Safaricom said had switched off 800,000 unregistered SIM cards by Thursday evening, the largest number made public so far.

A statement from the dominant player in the market said the exercise was being carried out in phases.

"We have been doing our best to update the electronic records after the last minute rush that saw a huge number of customers register their SIMs between the 31st of December 2012 and yesterday," Safaricom Chief executive Bob Collymore said. "We are refining the switch off process and it will continue into the weekend and those affected by the blocking will be unable to make calls or utilise any of our services until their SIM cards are registered".

He said Safaricom has so far registered over 85 per cent of its subscriber base, after intensive awareness campaigns that preceded the deadline.

Telkom Orange said on Thursday it had switched off 100,000 unregistered SIM cards out of its 1.27 million unregistered subscribers. Essar Yu and Airtel did not disclose their details.

According to the statement unregistered subscribers who get switched off can still reclaim their numbers by registering with an authorized dealer.

CCK statistics updated on Friday December 28 showed there were over 6.3 million unregistered SIM cards operating among the four local mobile networks and they were still accessing mobile phone services three days after the registration deadline.

Non-ompliance will attract a court fine not exceeding Sh300,000 a three-year jail term or both

Copyright © 2013 The Star. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.