264,000 mobile phones switched off over SIM registration, says Chiloba

More than 264,000 mobile phone users were deregistered between February and June for failing to list their SIM cards.

Speaking in Naivasha Monday during a cybersecurity workshop, Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director-General Ezra Chiloba said the agency is verifying whether the number had reached 500,000, citing reports in some quarters.

“This window of between October 15 and the end of next week, we shall be able to narrow down to know the exact figures,” he said.

“We shall also be asking service providers what they have done to people who were supposed to register and they have not. The general principle is that you cannot have an active SIM card that is not duly registered,” he added.

He said at least 93 per cent of Safaricom users were registered and 81 per cent of Airtel subscribers. The agency had not established how many users were registered under Telkom.

“The question is, where is the percentage yet to register? Since the number is smaller, we have tasked the providers with a mapping exercise to identify the specific individuals,” Mr Chiloba said.

He explained that subscribers who were genuinely unable to register will have their concerns addressed, adding that if they were crooks, the agency will ensure they are permanently disconnected from the network.

“Verification of unregistered numbers is ongoing, a significant move that will guarantee that the mobile services can be trusted in Kenya,” he said.

He warned the agency will “go for the operators” in cases of non-compliance, reminding them that they have a critical role to play in ensuring their subscribers are fully compliant.

He added that the agency wants 100 per cent compliance, assuring Kenyans that only inactive lines will be disconnected

“For those known to use SIM cards without registering, the options are many. Some include denying them services in a more graduated way … You might be able to receive calls but cannot make a call,” Mr Chiloba clarified.

Commenting on the August elections, Mr Chiloba said they ensured that cyberspace was safe.
He said the three-day retreat that brings together private sector players was aimed at sharing insights about cybersecurity, saying businesses in Kenya were moving towards the digital space and hence the need for secure platforms.

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