Kenya’s CA Directs Operators to Switch Off Irregularly-Registered SIM Cards

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The Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) was created to oversee several ICT-related functions. One of such tasks is ensuring that mobile operators comply with the Kenya Information and Communications (Registration of SIM-Cards) Regulations, 2015.

According to the regulations, carriers and agents are mandated to register subscribers in line with strict guidelines. Specifically, it is an offense for you and I to buy a SIM card from a person who’s not an authorized dealer.

Once a SIM card is purchased using the correct channels, the operator, be it Telkom, Safaricom, Airtel or Equitel must store a subscriber’s full name, ID/passport/service card/alien card number, gender, physical address, postal address if applicable and any other registered subscriber number associated with the customer. Furthermore, a customer must present his particulars that support the information given.

This is a common procedure that is known to most of us. However, the CA has noticed that some telcos have slipped from the norm by failing to follow the guidelines defined in Rule 5 (1) of the regulations.

As a result, the Authority has given a directive to switch off SIM cards that are registered incorrectly. There are several variations of non-compliance, which include lack of critical subscriber information (ID number, fraudulent registration and so forth), so we are not sure how big the suspension net will sweep.

In other countries, telcos are slapped with fines worth millions of dollars for failing to comply with SIM registration requirements. Other countries such as Uganda have a strict approach to the same exercise – a process that has been put in place to fight criminal cases that thrive on cellular communications that take advantage of lax SIM registration activities.

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