, NAIROBI, Kenya, June 24 – Leading communications firm Safaricom has clarified that it’s M-PESA and PostPay customers do not have to register their lines afresh under the SIM card registration directive currently being implemented in the country.
But such customers may make time to verify their details as received and recorded by the firm.
The two services already require one’s personal details to be registered when signing a contract with Safaricom, under the Know Your Customer (KYC) and other prudential rules which have always been strictly enforced by Safaricom.
With M-PESA commanding about 10 million subscribers, this announcement is expected to be a major reprieve for the firm’s customers. It means that out of a total subscriber roll of over 15 million, only about 5 million are required to register under the presidential directive.
Safaricom had already kicked off the registration process at it’s over 31 Safaricom Retail Centres countrywide following the government directive requiring all mobile phone SIM cards to be registered by end of July 2010. Subscribers can also register their details at 2,500 Safaricom dealer outlets and 1,600 M-PESA agents countrywide.
Under the new rules, users are required to give their postal and physical address, date of birth and alternative phone numbers, besides their names and identity cards. The directive also applies to those buying new SIM cards.
Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph, is now urging all Safaricom subscribers to visit the company’s retail outlets and other registration points countrywide to have their SIM cards registered.
“We have put in place all the necessary measures to ensure a smooth process. Besides our Retail Centres, dealers and M-PESA agents have also been mobilised and sensitised to assist in this important process.
They can also download the registration form from our website www.safaricom.co.ke or portal www.safaricom.com, print it out and present the completed form at any of our registration centres. We are urging our subscribers not to wait till the last minute to register,” he said.
Minors with SIM cards will be required to be accompanied by an adult, who will register as the owner of the card and the minor as the user. Subscribers are not supposed to pay any cash in order to get the forms and should report anyone asking for cash for the same.
On Monday the market regulator Communications Commission of Kenya, with the support of the country’s four mobile operators launched a campaign for SIM card registration. This follows a presidential directive issued in July last year.
The move was occasioned by widespread crime being perpetrated through mobile phone lines, and is expected to act as a deterrent, while making the work of investigating agencies easier.
Safaricom has also announced plans to acquire two Information Communications Technology (ICT) companies by the end of the year.
The decision to buy IGO Wireless Limited and Instaconnect Limited has already received Board approval and is part of the company’s strategic objective of enhancing its ability to grow its data business.
During its 2009 financial year, Safaricom’s earnings from data, which includes SMS, M-PESA and Broadband services for both mobile and fixed access, grew by 24.5 percent to Sh15.7 billion.
Mr Joseph has in the past indicated that it saw immense opportunities in the data services, which it wanted to capitalise on this year.
There are however, no details as to how much the deal is expected to cost.
IGO Wireless Limited is a licensed Public Data Network Operator engaged in the operation of fixed wireless data services while Instaconnect Limited is a licensed Application Service Provider engaged primarily in the integration of data solutions.
The deal is subject to shareholder approval as well as statutory approvals from the Communications Commission of Kenya and the Monopolies and Prices Commission.