By Fredrick Obura
Handset manufacturers are embroiled in a last minute effort to save over 2.5 million subscribers in possession of counterfeit phones from disconnection ahead of regulator plug off.
The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) September 30th deadline requires mobile operators to switch off all counterfeit phones from their network. Leading handset manufacturers Samsung and Nokia have embarked on initiatives targeted at either replacement or safe disposal of the electronics.
“The counterfeit switch off is an industry initiative, the operators and handset manufacturers have different roles to play,” says Bruce Howe, Nokia’s general manager, East Africa region.
“We have been cooperative so far and made most of our handsets pocket friendly to consumers,” he said.
An estimated three million mobile phone subscribers, holding counterfeit handsets, are set to enjoy an attractive replacement offer as Samsung Electronics East Africa, moves to mop up all counterfeit devices. Samsung Electronics is offering reprieve to all subscribers through a mop up campaign dubbed: Give up the Fake! which kicked off last week.
In the mop-up, Samsung is reaching out to subscribers to turn in their counterfeit handsets and in return get genuine Samsung mobile handsets with better prices.
Robert Ngeru, Samsung Electronics East Africa business leader confirmed that the firm’s sales promotion is geared to support the on-going CCK ‘Pata ukweli wa mtambo’ campaign.
“As part of this campaign, we have undertaken to replace the estimated three million counterfeit handsets across major towns by replacing them with affordably priced Samsung handsets.”
“In addition, we have retained a locally accredited E-Waste Recycling Company to manage the collection and ultimate disposal of all counterfeit handsets.” Ngeru observed. Nokia also said it is partnering local mobile service providers and retail outlets to collect and dispose of counterfeit phones.