Kenya: CA to block unregistered SIM cards after audit


Two years after telecom companies in Kenya switched off unregistered SIM cards, the Communications Authority (CA) has commenced an audit to ascertain, identify and block unregistered cards that still flock the communications market.

According to the Daily Nation, the telecoms regulator has begun the two-month audit  following publication of new rules meant to curb fraud. The Director General of Communications Authority Francis Wangusi says Telkom Kenya, Safaricom and Airtel have floated pre-activated SIM cards in the market and will block all unregistered SIM Cards after the audit.

“We are doing a clean-up. Operators stand to be penalised, they must ensure that any SIM cards not registered on their networks must not be put to use. We hold them responsible if they go against the rules,” Mr Wangusi on Tuesday.

To harmonise SIM card registration across East Africa to help curb fraud and crime related to communication, the CA is jointly working with Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan regulators. This will allow individual countries to recognise all regional lines operating within their country as a major step of fighting fraud within the region.

Kenya Information and Communication Act of 2013 stipulates that telecom operators who fail to comply with the law face a fine not exceeding 5 million shillings. The regulations compel operators to register SIM cards as a way of facilitating safe e-commerce and mobile financial services. Through registrations, people who commit crime using their lines can be easily traced and apprehended.

The new regulations require telecom operators to send a personal notice to unregistered subscribers with warnings that their lines will be suspended. CA now wants the telecom companies to place advert on national newspapers or electronic media to caution unregistered subscribers of an impending switch off. Unregistered SIM cards were switched off in 2013 after Communications Authority CA warned that it would suspend licenses of the telecoms with unregistered subscribers.

Telkom Kenya CEO Vincent Lobri was quoted in the Nation saying that all the four million subscribers on its line are fully registered. Safaricom leads the market with over 23 million registered subscribers.
Source: Business Today 14 October 2015