Confusion over fake phones hits phone dealers

8 Oct 2012

Mobile phone dealers in Uganda have complained that the regulator’s crackdown on fake handsets has injured business. New Vision reports that mobile phone dealers are struggling to sell phones marked as made in China, as customers believe that most Chinese phones are fakes. In late September 2012, the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) began a campaign to end the use of fake phones, calling on customers to check that the handset has a legitimate International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI) before making a purchase. Further, the UCC added that it intends to block counterfeit phones from accessing Ugandan networks by the end of November this year. The paper claimed that the regulator’s announcement had led people to avoid purchasing Chinese-made phones in favour of European ones, despite the prevalence of genuine Chinese handsets from ZTE and Huawei. In an effort to clarify the situation, Isaac Kalembe, public relations officer for UCC said: ‘People should not take it for granted that Chinese phones are fake while European phones are genuine. Fake handsets come from everywhere and this is what we are trying to stop because they are a health and an environmental hazard.’ Kalembe added that the regulator would not block active subscribers, but would prevent fake phones purchased after 30 November from being used.