Uganda’s communications regulator wants to disconnect fake handsets

Uganda’s communications regulator the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) early this week promised to crack a whip and disconnect all fake mobile phones in the country.

Reports from communication regulatory body states that grey handsets in the country have become a bother. Currently, they are dominating in the market thus posing insecurity and health threats.
Other areas also largely counterfeited include equipment spare parts, foodstuffs and medicines. The organisation attributes latest development because of lack of anti-counterfeit legislation pending in parliament.

UCC consumer affairs manager Fred Otunnu said the regulatory body is working on ways that would prevent entry of fake phone into the country before switching off fake ones.

UCC’s executive director Godfrey Mutabazi had earlier issued a statement to the country’s main vendors, ZTE and Huaweisaying bogus handsets that fails to meet the required international standards should not be imported.

Phone vendors, say some new models tend to be faked and sold in the markets immediately after release of the original ones.

Other vendors do not go through any regulatory authority to confirm their relevant standards and specifications making it difficult to differentiate genuine and bogus gadgets.
Mutabazi noted that there has been a sudden increase of counterfeits device in the region, which is a threat.

Mutabazi concluded by saying, the poor services that users experience may be as a result of fake handsets gadgets. He however hailed the increase in the number of mobile users by more than 17 percent.

The phones are of low quality and fail to meet safety standards, leading to radiation that may cause health hazard to users, according to a report.

In Uganda UCC 2011 reports indicates that more than 14 million of people have mobile phones and receive services from MTN, Airtel, Smiles, Orange Telkom and Warid. Uganda has a population of close to 35 million people.

Kenya has made similar assertions it would paralyse the fake handsets in the country. Kenya’s communication regulator the CCK in June 2010 for the first time issued a notice it would switch off the fake phones. The process has been repeatedly postponed and the government is expected to honour the statement from September 30, 2012.

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