How CCK will switch off your fake phone

If you are a proud owner of a counterfeit phone, your mobile communication days are numbered – 90 days to be exact. The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) has given a three-month notice to Kenyans who sell and use counterfeit phones.

Close to 3 million mobile phones in the Kenyan market are counterfeit, translating to about 10% of all the active mobile devices in the country, according to CCK.

But how exactly will CCK switch off the fake phones? What is the relationship between a SIM card and a handset? Does the SIM card recognize it is ‘hosted’ in a fake handset?

These are some of the questions Kenyans are asking in regards to the CCK notice. It doesn’t help that the regulator has issued the switch-off threat several times before, without carrying out the threat.

But with the setting-up of a technical committee involving the Government, CCK, mobile operators and hand-set manufacturers, the regulator is now confident that it can switch off fake mobile phones on September 30th.

The four mobile operators are able to identify counterfeit handsets on their networks and this will be instrumental in the carrying out of CCK’s switch-off notice.

“Through the advice of this technical team, we have established an intelligent database that subscribers will be sending inquiries into to verify whether their mobile phones are genuine or not,” said CCK’s Acting Director General, Francis Wangusi.

The enactment of several key laws, including the Finance Act 2012 and the Kenya Information and Communications Act, may have emboldened CCK to issue the notice this time round. Contravention of the laws banning use or selling of counterfeit phones attracts a fine not exceeding Ksh300,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.

As a result of the new laws and rules, CCK has launched the ‘pata ukweli wa mtambo’ awareness campaign to educate Kenyans.

“The campaign aims to educate consumers on the disadvantages of using a counterfeit mobile phone and how to check if a phone is counterfeit. The campaign will also push the benefits of using genuine mobile phones,” says Wangusi.

Apart from infringing on manufacturer’s intellectual property rights, counterfeits also deny the government of revenue in form of tax.

Communications PS, Bitange Ndemo, added that the Government is keen to see all SIM cards registered to avoid a repeat of the 2007/08 post election violence where SMS’s were used to ignite and fan inter-community tensions.

“Law enforcement agencies were unable to bring the culprits to book due to the low number of registered SIM cards, which was aggravated by rampant usage of counterfeit devices,” said Dr. Ndemo.

To find out if your handset is genuine;
1. Dial *#06# to establish your handset’s IMEI. Copy the 15-digit number displayed on your screen.
2. Type the 15-digt number (IMEI) and SMS it to 1555. Once is enough to verify, otherwise you will be charged normal SMS rates if you send the fourth time.
3. If the IMEI is found in the GSMA database, you will receive a confirmation message showing the brand name and model number. If the number is different or not found in the GSMA database, then your mobile phone is not genuine.

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  1. Avatar onesmus July 2nd, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    its time we deal with genuine products, bravo CCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Avatar roger July 2nd, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    the move will make it easier to convince customers on genuine handsets to purchase given the assumption all “chinese” phones are fake…..

  3. Avatar Carolynar July 2nd, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    phew! mine is an original samsung 🙂 ! LOL

  4. Avatar Patrick July 3rd, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Not so fast. Here is the real story about CCK action.

    The majority of the 4 million phones CCK is going to cut off is
    not counterfeit. They are not phones that pretends to be a Nokia or Samsung.
    The phones are manufactured by smaller companies that in their effort to save
    money has not applied for an IMEI range from the European GSM associations.
    There is no reason why they would apply for IMEI range after all the phones can
    still be used all over the world (except maybe in Kenya after September) and
    there are no law requiring phone manufacturer to use GSMA’s IMEI range.

    So what will happen when CCK turn off the phones is that people
    that have bought a fully legal phone suddenly can’t use it any more. As these
    people are mostly low income households so they might not be able to buy another
    phone or at least it will put some stress on their finances.

    CCK mention three reasons for this initiative:

    To protect money transfers. This is obviously a joke because
    with 4 million phones on the list it should be obvious that money transfer
    services do not depend on whether or not an IMEI number is issued by GSMA as part of
    their security systems

    To increase tax revenue. Again most of these phones are imported
    legally and taxes paid.

    To fight Counterfeit. This is a valid argument but I am sure
    that CCK is fully aware that most of these phones are not counterfeit.

    So why is Kenya as the only country in the world aas fare as I am
    aware introducing initiative. Well there can only be one reason and that is that the big handset
    manufactures has “influenced” CCK in order to get rid of cheap

    The real losers here are 4 million Kenyans that will be cut off
    from telecommunication or be forced to by a new expensive phone from one of the
    big manufactures putting additional pressure on the Kenyan economy. 4 million
    phones at an average cost of 40USD is 160 million USD that Kenya will have to
    import from abroad.

    This is the largest scandal in CCK’s history but unfortunately
    media as CapitalFM is only quoting the official press release from CCK instead
    of doing some investigative journalisme.

    1. Avatar Martini July 9th, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      get your spelling right first.

    2. Avatar ken July 20th, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      can you give me your contacts? i need more details on what you are claiming > [email protected] @disqus_fjGhxU0pi4:disqus

    3. Avatar MrsMwangi October 1st, 2012 at 6:54 am

      Yeah, I’m Australian and gave my husband (who is Kenyan) a genuine Motorola Razr phone (bought in Australia) as a gift. Nothing fake about it, yet he has been told repeatedly that it will be switched off. 🙁 We’re both VERY disappointed because (as I said before) this was NOT a cheap, fake phone.

  5. Avatar Imade July 13th, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Chinese products will neva be fake as you pipo think n tell me guys which the leading country in technology other than China ?Remember onething that not everyone can but a HUMMER

  6. Avatar brian August 26th, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    why do you people use thika road?..
    now my galaxy will go away just that way?

  7. Avatar james okwara September 10th, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    what happens if i purchase a genuine phone out there for my personal use. the data base used has IMEI information gotten from approved importers.buying a genuine phone for personal use is not illegal. what will cc k do to comply with the law?

  8. Avatar David September 19th, 2012 at 8:48 am

    How do we compensate those who bought fake phones unknowingly and it is the responsibility of the govt through Kebs to deny entry of such? How will the consumer be protected againes buying fake phones in future?

  9. Avatar Mubiru Sly Jeffersons September 25th, 2012 at 7:35 am

    kenyan have right 2 use commodity they can avoid ad so idont see how cck can use the long procedure by switch off the fone it our right ad we an block cck2 do sowe are not the exporter then can u define how did kind off fone get into country without govt knowing stop abusing our right cck loook another way , we are the one say but the cck

  10. Avatar Silativ Meja September 27th, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I think it should have been wise enough For CCk to register those phones rather than closing them down.

  11. Avatar Wanjala September 27th, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Haiya my phone is fake jameni

  12. Avatar Tranzy_maM September 30th, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    why is Kenya as the only country in the world aas fare as I am
    aware introducing initiative. Well there can only be one reason and that is that the big handset
    manufactures has “influenced” CCK in order to get rid of cheap

  13. Avatar cyrusville October 2nd, 2012 at 11:36 am

    There are a few practices that can result to loss of the original IMEI number. This results to the use of generic IMEI numbers. In my view, the device is still an original, bar the ‘fake’ IMEI number which will fall outside the GSMA database. CCK should surely start registering the devices themselves as so many smart phone users have been locked out here…


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