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Kenya

CCK postpones fake phone switch-off until April

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 21 – The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) has once again extended the deadline to switch off subscribers using counterfeit phones in the country.

Acting Director General Francis Wangusi said on Wednesday that the regulator would extend the deadline to April 30 next year.

“The extension was necessitated by the need to first undertake a consumer awareness campaign and also for the industry to establish a mechanism through which consumers could confirm the status of their mobile devices,” he said.

The extension will also allow mobile operators to undertake the requisite technical preparations in readiness for disconnecting counterfeit handsets.

“The extension will provide the affected mobile subscribers with more time to replace their mobile handsets in view of the prevailing hard economic realities in the country,” Wangusi added.

The CCK boss said the industry was exploring the possibility of putting in place a system through which subscribers would be able to interrogate a central database via SMS to verify whether their devices are genuine or not.

Regulatory concern over counterfeit handsets stems from the fact that counterfeit devices deny manufacturers of revenue through counterfeit production of their products.

“Use of counterfeit handsets may expose consumers to safety and health risks as the phones may not meet the approved radiation standards. Further, counterfeit devices typically enter markets via unofficial channels thus denying the government of revenue,” Wangusi argued.

According to industry statistics, close to 2.4 million mobile phones in the market are counterfeit, representing 9.39 percent of the active mobile devices in the country.

The ongoing initiative to rid Kenya of counterfeit mobile phones is driven by CCK in conjunction with industry players, handset manufacturers, and other relevant government agencies including the Kenya Bureau of Standards, Office of the President, Anti-Counterfeit Agency, and the Kenya Revenue Authority.

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