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End of the road for Kenyans with fake phones

SCI & TECH
By - | September 19th 2012

By CYRUS OMBATI

If you are a proud owner of a counterfeit phone, your mobile communication days are numbered- ten days to be exact.

The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) has insisted it will switch off the fake gadgets by end of this month.

Director General Francis Wangusi said there will be no extension.

“All counterfeit handsets shall be switched off on September 30 this year…..there shall be no further extension of this deadline,” said Wangusi.

Addressing a press conference in Nairobi, Wangusi said all the required channels have been followed in implementing the directive.

Wangusi said the move is aimed to among other issues, protect the country from the threat of terrorism, lawlessness and political violence.

He added the move will also protect the consumers and safeguard the gains made so far in the mobile telecoms industry, particularly in regard to mobile money payment systems.

The director said the commission has been conducting a three month public awareness campaign as advised by a technical team that had been set up to monitor the exercise.

 A database system that was established to help in confirming the status of the handsets in the market has so far received close to 10 million queries, representing a third of the 29.7 million in the country.

Close to 3 million mobile phones in the Kenyan market are counterfeit, translating to about 10% of all the active mobile devices in the country, according to CCK.

The technical committee involved the Government, CCK, mobile operators and hand-set manufacturers.

The four mobile operators are able to identify counterfeit handsets on their networks and this will be instrumental in the carrying out of CCK’s switch-off notice.

The enactment of several key laws, including the Finance Act 2012 and the Kenya Information and Communications Act, may have emboldened CCK to implement the directive.

Contravention of the laws banning use or selling of counterfeit phones attracts a fine not exceeding Sh300, 000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.

To find out if your handset is genuine;
1. Dial *#06# to establish your handset’s IMEI. Copy the 15-digit number displayed on your screen.
2. Type the 15-digt number (IMEI) and SMS it to 1555. Once is enough to verify, otherwise you will be charged normal SMS rates if you send the fourth time.
3. If the IMEI is found in the GSMA database, you will receive a confirmation message showing the brand name and model number. If the number is different or not found in the GSMA database, then your mobile phone is not genuine.

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