According to All Africa, around 680,000 counterfeit handsets on Safaricom’s network will be disconnected from midnight on Sunday 30 September, when the government’s directive to ban ‘fake’ mobile handsets takes effect. Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore has said that it will take the cellco at least 15 hours to cut off all the unauthorised handsets currently connected to the company’s network, which is currently home to upwards of 19 million subscribers. ‘We think it will be a really unfortunate consequence for customers, but hopefully the education process we have been through over the past two months has alerted people to the challenges,’ Collymore said.
Elsewhere, Airtel Kenya has indicated that there are around 100,000 users of fake phones on its network while Essar Telecom Kenya (yu) will block approximately 45,000 customers. Orange Kenya expects to switch off around 20,000 fake phones. The switch-off process involves each company blocking all handsets that bear a fake International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number from accessing their respective network. However, a subscriber’s SIM card will not be affected by the process, and it will still be active when a subscriber installs it in a genuine handset.