Kenya mobile firms switch off 1.5mn fake handsets

by Oct 2, 2012

Nairobi, Oct 2 (IANS) Kenyan mobile phone firms have said they have switched off 1.5 million fake handsets.

The operators, Safaricom, Airtel, Telkom, and Yu, and industry regulator Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) had pledged to rid the industry and Kenya of fake mobile handsets by Sep 30 deadline, reported Xinhua.

According to CCK Director-General Francis Wangusi, Safaricom disconnected 680,000, Airtel switched off 740,000 while Orange blocked 75,000 handsets. Yu had not submitted its data to the regulator by Monday.

Wangusi commended mobile operators and device manufacturers for supplementing the CCK's campaign through their own public awareness campaigns, and for availing affordable genuine mobile in the market.

The four mobile operators said they would support CCK in switching off all counterfeit handsets but challenged the relevant agencies to enhance surveillance to stem the inflow of fake handsets into the Kenyan market.

"We are happy we have received cooperation from the service providers and I am sure the exercise will be over by the close of business on Monday," Wangusi said.

A statement from Safaricom confirmed that it had completed the blocking of all counterfeit mobile phone handsets on its network.

"We deeply regret the inconvenience and anxiety that this exercise has caused amongst our customers. We realize that they have little to do with presence of these counterfeit devices in the country and it is unfortunate that they have had to shoulder the negative consequences of the same," Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said.

The industry regulator had issued the directive to the industry compelling all service providers to ensure that counterfeit phones were blocked from accessing Kenyan mobile networks with effect from Sep 30.

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