By Macharia Kamau
The operators will also be required to deny service access to unregistered SIM cards by the end of the deadline.
CCK acting Director-General Francis Wangusi said the regulator has resolved pending issues, and is ready to block unregistered users.
“We are not back tracking this time. We have all the systems in place and the backing of industry players,” he said. The Commission has postponed the move thrice, attributing the move to logistical challenges.
Previously segments of the industry, including some operators and handset retailers, were said to be uncomfortable with the idea they argued would see their businesses suffer. But Wangusi said CCK had adopted a multi-stakeholder consultation approach to the issue.
“We wanted to consolidate all the mechanisms before starting the exercise. There were logistical issues that had not been dealt with as well as issues on consumer awareness that had not been adequately addressed,” he said.
He added that CCK has been granted access to a database that has all the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers of genuine handsets by the GSMA, a global grouping for mobile operators and handset manufacturers.
The IMEI number is a unique identity for cell phones that counterfeits lack. Wangusi said subscribers can now check whether the IMEI numbers of their handsets and tally with what is on the GSMA database.
“This will enable local subscribers check whether their cell phones are genuine and be able to make plans to acquire new handsets if they are using fake phones,” he said. Wangusi spoke yesterday when he launched a three month consumer awareness campaign on the hazards of counterfeit handsets.
Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere accused mobile operators of failing to adhere to regulations requiring them to deny access to holders of unregistered SIM cards.