At least 15 million SIM cards could be switched off on October 15, following the lapse of time given by the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) for fresh registration of SIM cards across all telcos.
According to data by CA, at the end of August, 80.7 percent of Safaricom’s 42.53 million subscribers had registered their SIM cards, leaving 8.2 million yet to register.
With 17.04 million subscribers, Airtel Kenya was still awaiting 4.65 million subscribers to register their lines, while 72.7 percent of them had already registered.
Telkom Kenya had only registered 36.3 percent (1.24 million) of its 3.42 million users, the lowest SIM card registration ratio among the three major telcos.
Kenya has 64.67 million SIM subscriptions, according to CA. The low registration rates have been reported despite the telecoms’ repeated reminders to their customers to comply or face having their service disconnected.
In order to give millions of consumers more time to comply with its instruction to eliminate fraudsters and other criminals from subscriber records, CA extended the deadline for SIM card registration by six months in April.
The SIM registration effort, according to the CA, has already resulted in the deactivation of 200,000 SIM cards which were discovered to have been registered using incorrect identifying information.
CA has put forth new rules that would compel consumers to hand over biometric information such as fingerprints and facial traits that help identify them—when registering their SIM cards.
The CA is planning to create a database that will house all of a person’s or business’s mobile phone records in one place, making retrieval and verification simple.
Information on SIM card subscribers will be stored in the database, which will be connected to other public databases including the Registrar of Companies and the Dead Persons’ Database.
The initiative intends to root out mobile phone scammers while also prohibiting the illicit usage of registered SIM cards belonging to deceased individuals.
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