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Kenyans welcome unregistered phone switch off

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 1 – A number of Kenyans have expressed support for the move by the Communications Commission of Kenya to switch off unregistered sim cards.

A few told Capital FM News that the initiative will go a long way in reducing crime and other terrorism related activities.

Most of those interviewed had already registered their lines at the close of the deadline at midnight Monday.

“There are thieves using these phones and if they are registered, it will make it easier for police to track down criminals. This issue that you need to send money because you have been kidnapped will be long gone and forgotten as a result of this initiative,” one person stated.

“I registered my lines in time. Everything is good and I ushered in the New Year with pomp and style.”

According to the CCK, the move will discourage vendors from selling sim cards without first registering them.

“There are people who are really complaining that their sim cards are not working. They are saying that their M-Pesa accounts have been blocked and they do not know what to do,” another shared.

This is the commission’s second attempt to block unregistered sim cards after a 2010 attempt was derailed by a lack of laws to support the process.

Figures released by the communications commission show that at least 80 percent of all mobile phone users had registered their sim cards ahead of the switch-off by CCK.

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CCK Consumer and Public Affairs Director Mutua Muthusi ruled out an extension of the registration deadline Monday.

He added that suspended sim cards that will not have been registered at the end of 90 days will be de-activated permanently.

He explained that the process will make it easier for law enforcement agencies to track down criminal activities and to minimise hate speech.

CCK had authorised mobile operators to switch off nearly 1.5 million unregistered sim cards.
The move follows the switch off of an estimated one million handsets at the end of September 2012.

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