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SIM listing in Kenyan due in a month

NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 12 – The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) says it plans to launch the SIM card registry in a month’s time.

This comes well after the six-month directive given by the President in July 2009 to have all mobile phone users registered to curb rising cases of crime through use of mobile phones.

Speaking to Capital Business, CCK Director General Joseph Njoroge said the major hurdle for setting up the registry has been the legal framework around the process to ensure it compels everyone to register.

“We have had discussions with the Ministry of Information and we are now preparing for the launch of the registry shortly,” Mr Njoroge said.

Mobile phone operators have been conducting the registration of subscriber details on a voluntary basis and CCK says close to 80 percent of the data has already been captured.

The process could be said to be have been hastened by those using mobile money transfer services who have their SIM card details registered. Safaricom’s M-Pesa service has close to 8.8 million users while Zain’s Zap service is scratching on the one million users mark.

The challenge has been that registration of SIM cards is an essential but not a legal requirement.

Such a law stipulates what information should be documented, how it is verified, how it will be managed and those entitled to access it to ensure confidentiality.

While a number of mobile firms have welcomed the introduction of SIM card registration arguing it would help curb crime to some extent, some have raised issue with the time-frame in which to do it.

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Telkom Kenya Chief Executive Mickael Ghossein is of the opinion that it would take more than one year to effectively capture the data of mobile phone subscribers.

“No can be able to capture all that data in six months you would need close to two years to do all that,” Mr Ghossein has said on the issue.

Zain Kenya Managing Director Rene Meza has raised concern over the lack of awareness from the regulators end in an effort of speeding up the process.

He said that with the six-month window given by the president having expired, not all of its subscribers have had their lines registered.

Kenya has close to 17.6 million mobile phone users.

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