Outrage at illegal SIM card penalties

4 Jan 2013

The Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) has condemned a decision by the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) to fine subscribers KES300,000 (USD3,426) or jail them for three years for using unregistered SIM cards. CapitalFM.co.ke quotes Cofek secretary general Stephen Mutoro as suggesting that the only penalty customers should face for using unregistered SIM cards is disconnection from their service provider. Once disconnected, subscribers will have 90 days to recover their numbers, but Mutoro emphasised that the failure by providers to disconnect noncompliant customers should not be placed with the subscribers themselves.

Preliminary data from the CCK, released just before the 31 December deadline, indicated that market leader Safaricom claimed the highest registration rate in the sector, at 85.2%, while also accounting for the bulk of all cancelled SIM cards (2.9 million). Elsewhere, Airtel had registered 82.5% of its user base, Essar Telecom Kenya (ETK) claimed a 65% sign-up rate and Orange had secured 63.7% of its subscribers.