Kenya’s communication regulator puts off fake handset switch off

Kenya’s communication commission (CCK) has for the third time put off a campaign to switch off fake mobile phones that more than 2.3 million people in the country are said to use, to August this year.
According to the regulator, this will be the final postponement.

The CCK said the duration is expected to allow for time to update its database with details from mobile manufacturers, as well as educate and sensitize the users.
CCK’s acting director general Francis Wangusi said the regulator has already identified a database provider through a competitive tender and it will be signing the contract this month.

“We have already identified a database provider through a competitive tender and we will be signing the contract next week,” said Wangusi.

CCK plans to engage in a three-month consumer awareness campaign between May and July. The switch-off is meant to enhance public safety from poor quality of counterfeit handsets.

CCK had directed mobile service providers to switch off counterfeit handsets by September 30, 2011. The deadline was however pushed to December 2011.

Stating inadequate consultation and lack of technology, the regulator yet again postponed the date to April this year.

Mobile phone in Kenya has moved from initial luxurious goods to a basic necessity in Kenya with an estimated penetration of mobile phones standing at 71.3 percent, according to the CCK statistics.

Low-end phones especially from China have flooded Kenya’s market. According to CCK, a major problem is that most of the users do not understand the status of their – whether fake or genuine.

The outer shells and screens of the handsets, the printed logos and branding, the packaging and the included accessories can be faked making it difficult to identify whether a phone is fake or genuine. When possible it is always preferable to buy a phone through a registered retailer or reseller who can vouch for a phones authenticity, says the CCK.

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