Doubts rise as the counterfeit mobile switch off draws close

It now emerges majority of Kenyans have no idea whether their mobile handsets are genuine or counterfeit despite the widespread education by the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK).

CCK had pumped in KSh50 million (US$ 600,000) to educate the public on the dangers of counterfeit phones and how subscribers can check their phones if they are genuine, Francis Wangusi, Acting Director General of CCK said duringan interview with NTV.

Although he did not provide statistics on the number of Kenyans confirmed to be uncertain of their handset’s compliance, he expects over 2.4 million subscribers to be disconnected by September 30.

There were many queries about the IMEI number, which is used to confirm the genuine handsets. Most callers did not know whether to use the IMEI number which is usually written where the phone battery is or the one provided by using the USSD command *#06#.

Mr. Wangusi said there is always a cost to incur when change happens. He said that the operators had accepted that part of their revenue would be lost during the switch off and so Kenyans with fake mobile phones should also be ready to face the cost, as the government will not be compensating those affected.

The Consumer Federation of Kenya, had earlier threatened to move to court to stop the impeding counterfeit crackdown, but has yet to do so. Cofek argues that the move infringes on the rights of customers.

Stephen Mutoro the secretary-general of Cofek said: “We are not disputing the need for security… we are not opposed to efforts to fight crime but the manner in which the process is being undertaken is punitive to consumers. There has been minimal consultation with consumers.”

It seems the commission has a lot to do to educate Kenyans as the D-Day for the counterfeit mobile switch off inches closer.

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