Leading mobile providers Safaricom and Kencell officially launched a revolutionary phone blocking system last week. The new system technically referred to as the Equipment Identification Register (EIR) will be operational starting January next year.EIR will be jointly operated by the two phone firms alongside other leading regional service operators in conjunction with the police.

Speaking during the system’s launch, Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph said the two firms had invested more than Sh100 million in the new system.Joseph noted that over 5,000 phones are stolen monthly hence the need for the new system to curb the vice. "Mobile thieves will no longer have market for the stolen phones since once the phone is disabled, it cannot work with any regional network.

He said that each GSM phone features a unique factory pre-set serial number that cannot be altered in any way."Using this feature, the EIR system will blacklist all mobile phones reported stolen on the Safaricom and the Yes! Networks among other East Africa services providers thus rendering it useless," said Joseph.

On his part, Phillippe Vandebrouck Kencelll, Communications Limited Managing Director revealed that all other regional mobile phone service providers had joined forces to ensure the EIR’s success."All the regional mobile phone service providers have signed a Memorandum of Understanding binding them to offer reciprocal stolen phones blacklisting services on their networks.