Over 4 million Kenyan SIM cards switched off

Kenyan mobile phone operators report that, collectively, over four million unregistered SIM cards out of a targeted 6.1 million have been barred.

Over four million unregistered SIM cards out of a targeted 6.1 million have been barred (image: file)

Safaricom, Yu, Airtel and Orange Kenya said that the overall registration process saw more than 70 percent of users comply with the new regulations and SIM registration.

Still, over one million users could see their phones switched off in the coming days if they fail to take measures to register their cards with the companies and the government.

According to available statistics, Airtel said it has barred over 670,000 users from its network out of the targeted 823,000 users. Orange has blocked 860,000 out of the 1.2 million unregistered users it had at the beginning of the year.

Yu has suspended an estimated 400,000 where it is targeting 1.13 million users on its network. Safaricom announced it had completed the process, having blocked 2.5 million users. At the end of last year, it had about 2.9 million unregistered users.

This follows the Kenya Information and Communications Act, which was amended last year to “provide for the registration of telecommunication subscribers and require mobile operators to maintain a register of all persons to whom they offer telecommunications services,” said the country’s telecom regulator.

According to the Act, “operators who do not comply will attract a KES 300,000 fine for every unregistered Sim card on their network.”

Operators have 30 days to have outstanding users who have not registered their SIM cards to register or the companies would face a penalty if they do not turn off the user’s network.

Mobile users then have 90 days from their suspension of services to register their SIM or their lines would be permanently disconnected.

Mohammed Awad