CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

Kenya: New SIM Regulations Target Agents and Dealers

The Kenyan government is now taking the responsibility of illegal uses of unregistered SIM Cards beyond telcos to agents, dealers and retailers as it seeks to curb crime propagated using mobile phones.

According to the draft regulations on registration of subscribers of telecommunications services all stakeholders involved in the selling and registration of SIM cards will be liable for crimes committed because of negligence on their side.

This is as it emerges that since the last registration process the number of registered SIM cards holders had dropped from 81 percent to 70 percent with the last spot check by the communications commission of Kenya on October 11th putting the figure of unregistered SIM cards at 2.5 million.

The new regulations that were drafted by a task team including representatives from the four mobile operators according to ICT principal secretary Joseph Tiampati seek to create a uniform registration process and inform operators and their agents on the duty to keep records of all their subscribers.

"The secretariat that included members from the operators, the communications secretariat and the CCK addressed key issues while creating this regulations among them the prohibition of the sale of deactivated SIM cards and the requirement that SIM cards be sold only by designated agents who must retain a copy of the ID or passport of new owners," he said during a public consultation forum.

Unlike before every registration will also see the agents details recorded with another requirement that operators/licensees retain all records for two years after the deactivation of a subscriber.

"A licensee may contract or otherwise engage an agent for purposes of registering existing or new subscribers. Provided that the agent shall be bound to the same extent as a licensee, by the requirements under the Act and these Regulations with necessary modifications," part of the draft regulations reads.

Tiampati says the new law will help lock out criminals from using the ICT infrastructure terming proper registration as the key to fight crime.

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