Nairobi, 1ST October 2012… Leading integrated communications service provider, Safaricom today confirmed that it had completed the blocking of all counterfeit mobile phone handsets on its network.
Industry regulator, Communications Commission of Kenya “CCK” had issued the directive to the industry compelling all service providers to ensure that counterfeit phones were blocked from accessing Kenyan mobile networks with effect from 30th September 2012.
The service provider indicated that the mandatory exercise which began at midnight on 30th September 2012 impacted over 680,000 customers out of its 19.1 million subscriber base. Although the service provider said that it was too early to assess the financial implications of the blocking exercise, it confirmed that initial analysis of the customers impacted so far clearly indicated that the areas around Nairobi, Rift Valley, Central and Eastern were hardest hit by the exercise. Combined, these areas accounted for more than 60% of the targeted counterfeit phones.
Company CEO Bob Collymore stated, “we deeply regret the inconvenience and anxiety that this exercise has caused amongst our customers. We realise that they have little to do with presence of these counterfeit devices in the country and it is unfortunate that they have had to shoulder the negative consequences of the same. In order to mitigate the inconvenience we have been contacting all affected customers and providing them with the option of purchasing affordable genuine phones or redeeming their Bonga Loyalty Scheme Points for new handsets.”
Mr Collymore further stated that, “For this exercise to be successful, all operators have to play their part and diligently block the counterfeit devices based on lists they receive from the other networks. We recognise that blocking handsets alone is not the long term solution and we call for more support to the CCK by related Government agencies to block entry and sale of the counterfeit devices and to step up prosecution of those who engage in their illegal importation and sale.”
He further called on the Government to reconsider the impending decision to impose VAT on mobile phones saying that the move would make genuine mobile phones unaffordable to the majority of Kenyans and instead fuel the black market trading of counterfeits.
Safaricom subscribers can also confirm the authenticity of their handsets by dialling *#06# to get the IMEI number which they in turn send by SMS to 1555.