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Government backs thin SIM technology

FRED-MATIANGI-DRNAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 17 – The Information, Communication and Technology Ministry says it in full support of the entry of the thin SIM technology in Kenya.

Speaking before the parliamentary committee on Energy, Communications and Information, ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said despite the ongoing debate concerning the vulnerability of the privacy of the users, the approval by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is sufficient proof it is fit for use.

He called on all stakeholders in the industry to allow for the one year pilot period given by CA and at least give a chance to Kenyans to make a decision about the thin SIM.

“No one is going to force any Kenyan to use the overlay SIM. But if they use it and actually prove that their information is compromised, then the responsibility lies with the operator of the thin SIM,” Matiang’i said.

He maintained that there should be no fear of any risks, as the regulator has taken enough caution about the technology and that the ministry was satisfied.

Matiang’i says his ministry will continue to encourage the growth of innovation adding that this will enhance competition in the market hence lowering the cost of money transfers.

“Nothing protects consumers more that competition. It is targeted at protecting the consumers. The whole idea of a liberal market is choice and that is what consumers are given,” the CS said.

Matiang’i statement comes a day after Equity Bank announced that it will be officially launching its thin SIM technology in two weeks time.

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Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi challenged critics to allow consumers to at least test the technology and tell if there are risks or not.

The bank has already started issuing the normal SIM cards dubbed Equitell which will have similar functionality with the thin SIM which it will start issuing by the end of this month.

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Telecom giant, Safaricom has opposed the use of the thin SIM on grounds that it will compromise the privacy of its consumers.

But the ICT Cabinet Secretary said that it will be not a must for a consumer to overlay the thin SIM but can use a separate mobile handset.

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