Kenya’s communications industry regulator the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has threatened mobile phone users with hefty fines or jail terms of up to three years if they fail register their SIM cards by tomorrow.
While addressing a press conference in Nairobi yesterday, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communications Bitange Ndemo said mobile phone users stand to pay a fine of KSh300,000 (US$3,570) if they do not comply with the directive.
Mobile operators who provide network services to unregistered users also stand to pay hefty fines, Ndemo said: “If there is a mobile operator providing services to these unregistered SIM cards, and CCK finds this is true, they also stand to pay KSh300,000 for every SIM card unregistered on their network.”
The CCK blamed the mobile services operators for impeding the switch-off by not disconnecting the unregistered users on December 31, 2012 when the deadline elapsed.
“People have not taken this law seriously with respect to the registration. We are hoping that any mobile operator that has disconnected those who have not registered, should actually do it with immediate effect,” Ndemo added.
As at January 3, no unregistered SIM cards had been switched off, with analysts believing that operators are buying time to register as many SIM cards as possible since they stand to lose some of their subscriber base if they effect the switch-off.
According to the CCK, Safaricom will be largest loser in the switch-off, standing to lose 2.9 million users. Telkom’s Orange networks stand to lose a third of its subscribers, with more than 1.2 million unregistered users. Yu Mobile and Airtel have 1.1million and 800,000 unregistered SIM cards respectively.