Arusha — The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has ordered that all counterfeit smartphone handsets and others that do not comply with their IMEI numbers will no longer work after June 16, being the authority's efforts to curb crime and misuse of the gadgets since most fake phones can operate by stealth, escaping detection.
Mr Julius Mairu, who sells phones in Arusha admits the old phones are selling like hot cakes, while the prestigious smartphones sales have stagnated. "People wrongly believe that all smartphones will cease to operate in mid-June," he said.
Surveys conducted around the city has revealed that, fearing to be blocked out, many residents of Arusha have opted to return to old feature phones. There are others who are ditching their smartphones simply because they are from unknown brands even though they could be genuine.
But the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has assured Tanzanians that, most of the existing handsets in the country, while not carrying badges that can guarantee them bragging rights, they are still genuine and will pass the June 16 switch off exercise which targets to render all counterfeit.
"The number of counterfeit mobile handsets has dropped down to a measly 18 per cent as of late, from the previous 30 per cent," pointed out the Communications Manager of the TCRA, Mr Innocent Mungy, during a recent training session in Arusha to highlight the pending June 16 switch-off exercise.
According to Mungy, the number of fake phone handsets has dropped because many people rushed to exchange their gadgets with genuine ones, following extensive mass education programmes that have been conducted by the TCRA across the country.
He pointed out that as of this year 2016 the number of registered Subscriber Identity Modules or SIM cards has reached 36 million and counting; "Which is a remarkable increase from the 3 million SIM cards that existed in the hands of holders back in 2005," he revealed.