Unregistered SIM Cards: How Govt is Enforcing Directive Ahead of Deadline

Mobile banking services in Kenya
Mobile banking services in Kenya

Millions of Kenyans are now facing challenges before making calls ahead of the October 15 deadline for registration of their SIM cards.

Telcos are employing different techniques to push their subscribers and comply with the directive issued by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

The tactics include sending frequent reminders, putting playbacks before phone calls, blocking some from making calls and using multimedia public communication messages.

Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, one of the affected users noted that a telecommunication firm kept reminding him to register his sim card through a playback message that runs for over 45 seconds before every call.

File image of a phone user perusing a gadget.
File image of a phone user perusing a gadget.

"Your line is not registered and will be disconnected by October 15," the message from the telecommunication companies stated in part.

The move to enforce the directive also affected some users who noted that they could only receive phone calls forcing them to comply and avoid last-minute rush.

Other tricks being used to ensure Kenyans adhere to the directive include sending bulk pop-up messages that come after even 30 minutes leaving some subscribes frustrated, and announcements on TV, radio, newspapers and even different social media platforms.

"I woke up in the morning and tried to call my friend who was supposed to pick me up, and to my surprise, the call first diverted to customer care requesting me to register my SIM card. I really felt frustrated," one of the affected users told Kenyans.co.ke.

"I had misplaced my ID, but luckily I had the image which I used to register with using one of the operators' mobile applications. It however took about one minute to get it fixed online," he added.

Registration Requirements

In February, CA directed the mobile service providers to ensure that the personal details of their subscribers were fully updated by April 15 under Kenya Information and Regulations 2015.

However, the period was extended to October 15 after operators recorded a low turnout. During the registration exercise, users were expected to provide their biometric data, such as facial features and fingerprints, to enhance their identification.

Other requirements for registration include national identification details or  passport numbers. Defending the registration exercise, CA Director General Ezra Chiloba noted that it was key to forming a one-stop shop for mobile phone records of individuals and companies to ease information retrieval.

Chiloba added that the exercise was key to weeding out online fraud in the country.

According to data from CA, over 200,000 users have so far been deactivated after they were found to be registered under wrong identification details.

The Sim Cards fraud is a widely used tactic by Con gangs in Nairobi.
A photo of several scattered sim cards
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