Booming business for shops as CCK shuts fake phones
Posted Monday, October 1 2012 at 23:30
- Safaricom blacklisted and blocked 680,000 phones from its network, Telkom Orange locked out 75,000 phones while Airtel blocked 740,000 phones. YuMobile independently confirmed that it had switched off about 45,000 phones.
- A survey by the Daily Nation revealed that some owners of fake handsets were still operating their devices well after 4 PM
- According to information released by mobile operators last week, the entire operation was supposed to commence at midnight on Sunday and take 15 hours
Counterfeit handsets are said to cost the Kenyan economy millions of shillings in evaded taxes annually. Mobile operators have also complained that the gadgets degrade and clog their networks.
Despite this, efforts to switch off the handsets have been delayed repeatedly and been plagued with controversy. On occasion, Cofek has threatened to sue the government over the directive.
Just last week, four individuals went to court challenging CCK’s legal mandate in terminating services to counterfeit handsets.
The deadline for termination of services to counterfeit handsets had originally been set for December 31, 2011 but was postponed to April 2012 and subsequently to September.
The regulator’s ability to pull off the exercise successfully will be instrumental in maintaining its credibility and public confidence that has been eroded by undelivered promises, indecisiveness and divisions within CCK’s board.
Last week, the regulator was supposed to deliver its verdict on another contentious issue in the communication sector — the tariff at which mobile operators terminate calls to each other.
However, the board failed to come to consensus, a situation that will see consumers suffer relatively high mobile tariffs for the foreseeable future.
The public’s eyes now turn to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and the Kenya Revenue Authority to ensure that counterfeit handsets no longer enter the Kenyan market.
Both bodies have come under fire for shirking their duties of protecting local consumers from sub-standard and harmful products throughout the switch-off controversy.