Rwanda, Tanzania to follow Kenya and ‘switch off fake phones’

Kenya last week paralysed close to 1.4 million counterfeit mobile handsets in a move aimed at beefing up security, an initiative that has motivated neighbours Rwanda and Tanzania to take similar action.

Officials from Rwanda’s telecommunications regulatory body, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA), have confirmed the government is looking to get rid of the counterfeit handsets in widespread use in the country.

RURA estimates that 47.5 percent of the phones used in the country are counterfeits. According to Regis Gatarayiha, the regulatory body’s director general, the fake phones pose health risks to users and would be disconnected soon.

“We are going to work on a methodology to disconnect fake phones off their networks and we shall work with telecom companies,” Gatarayiha said. “It’s an initiative that has been agreed upon within the East African Communications Organisation (EACO). This is going to be worked on as soon as possible.”

RURA says it will use a mobile phone’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number through network service providers to differentiate between fake and genuine handsets.

The IMEI numbers of fake devices are either exact copies codes of genuine handsets or in an order that fails to meet the recognised standards.

RURA said it will soon announce the date for switching off the fake mobile phones.

In Tanzania it is estimated that 22 percent of mobile subscribers use fake handsets. The deputy minister for Communication, Science and Technology January Makamba told the country’s top daily CitizenDaily on Tuesday that Kenya’s move in switching off fake mobile phones was “superb in facilitating superior communication.”

He however noted that it exposes his country to a greater risks of being the next stop for those selling bogus cellphones.

“Fears that our country may be flooded with fake mobile phones are genuine. I was discussing the same subject with my colleagues at the ministry recently. We will soon convene a meeting with TCRA officials to deliberate on the issue,” Makamba said.

Makamba hopes the government, in a joint effort with handsets manufacturers and mobile phone operators, will find an amicable solution.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Latest headlines

Latest by Category

Tweets about "humanipo"