September 30th is nearing, and Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has a directive that all counterfeit devices running on Kenya’s networks be switched off. Many genuine phone manufacturers welcome this move that will see them win round one of the battle against counterfeits. ODMs have tried to deal with Chinese made devices, some of which twisted the names of known brands to confuse uninformed customers at purchase. This obviously reflects on the revenues of the said Genuine device manufacturers negatively. Manufacturers which face a tougher situation are the little known genuine devices manufacturers who manufacturer in China and ensure their devices pass quality tests. Mi-Fone is one of them, made in China but genuine and usually find themselves bundled in as the average counterfeit from China. A switch-off of counterfeits will leave users with options of genuine phones.
Over 3 million devices will face the axe and those that pass the test will have the advantage to face consumers with the confidence they yearn. Mi-Fone CEO Alpesh Patel says the counterfeit market is hurting the business of genuine handsets. “Africans deserve better. It’s all about consumer perception and the fact that too many rogue traders have been allowed to get away with it,” said Alpesh.
Alpesh insisted that the government should have stringent measures to guard consumers, and the action should not stop at just switching off the phones, but also in ensuring that consumer awareness campaigns should be made consistent. “Cheap substandard products make their way to Africa as our customs systems and quality controls are so lax in Africa,” said Alpesh.