'Fake phones a threat to mobile money'
- Parent Category: Mobile
- Published on 29 June 2012
Kenya plans to phase out all counterfeit mobile phones and unregistered SIM cards by the end of September, as an official says these are a threat to mobile money services.
Retailers and consumers who do not comply with such changes will be convicted and liable to imprisonment and fines.
Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary, Ministry of Information and Communication, said, “In this era of mobile banking, use of counterfeit devices manufactured without due consideration to the recognised security standards, may expose our mobile money systems to unnecessary risks.”
“The government cannot allow this to happen and thus our decision is to have all unregistered SIM cards and counterfeit handset mobile phones handsets phased out,” he added.
Recently government launched a public awareness campaign dubbed ‘Pata Ukweli wa Mtambo’ to educate Kenyans on the risks associated with using counterfeit mobile phones.
The campaign also provides steps consumers should take to establish if their mobile phones are genuine.
Francis Wangusi, acting director general of the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) said as the industry regulator, his organisation is mandated by law to protect consumers.
“In consultation with representatives from the four mobile operators, mobile phone manufacturers and relevant government ministries and agencies, we will continue to execute this mandate,” he said.
According to Kenya’s Anti-Counterfeit Act, it is an offence to manufacture, produce, sell, hire out, barter or exchange counterfeit items.
Statistics released by the CCK show that about 3 million mobile phones in the Kenyan market are counterfeit, translating to about 10% of all the active mobile devices in the country.
The Kenya Anti-Counterfeit Authority says the country loses around $38.5million annually through tax evasion on sale of fake handsets.