Kenya: mobile operators switch off 2.4 million users’ phones

Approximately one million mobile phone users in Kenya have reportedly been disconnected after failing to register their devices. The country’s main four mobile phone operators have since announced that through January 8, over 2.4 million unregistered SIM cards had been disconnected.

The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) is pleased with progress made in disconnecting unregistered SIM cards. (Image: File)

According to Safaricom, some 1.2 million of its SIM were disconnected, while Orange and Airtel reported around 520,000 and 365,266 SIMs switched off, respectively. Yu Mobile reported to have turned off 323,000 users’ SIM cards.

The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) said that the “disconnection of unregistered SIM cards was progressing well.”

The process of switching off SIM cards began on October 1, leaving many in the country angry that the government was forcing registration and not allowing users to maintain their current lines without registering them. The government and ICT ministry has identified security and the need to end counterfeiting as primary objectives. 

“Subscribers whose lines have been switched off have up to 90 days to register their SIM cards, failing which their mobile numbers will be recalled permanently and subsequently reassigned to new users,” the CCK said in a statement.

Mohammed Awad