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Uganda to disconnect six million fake mobile devices

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Uganda , 04 Aug 2022

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) plans to disconnect six million mobile handsets it alleges are fake and being used on different networks in the country.

The Commission said there is an influx of fake mobile handsets into the country and the more consumers reject fake handsets, the less traders will be tempted to import them.

According to the regulator fake handsets lower the quality of service on communication networks, negatively impact customer experience and emit electromagnetic waves that are detrimental to health.

UCC Corporate Affairs Director Fred Otunnu said the regulator made use of the country’s central equipment identifying register to identify the handsets to be disconnected.

Otunnu said the Commission has also instructed the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to bar any phones that do not meet required criteria and standards, and any devices that are illegally transported will not be able to connect to a network.

Otunnu added that the fight against fake handsets is a multi-sectoral engagement that involves several stakeholders including the government.

As far as the URA is concerned, they are a UCC partner and are the gatekeepers.

“Going forward, they will be playing their role to act in their capacity to control what is imported in terms of quality and standards.”

According to the UCC, phone owners are advised to dial *195*4# on all networks and that the phone’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and the phone type will automatically be displayed on the screen.

The UCC stated: “If the name on the screen is not similar to the one on top of the phone, then the phone is fake.”

Fred Muwema, Director for legal and corporate affairs at the anti-counterfeit division of Network Africa, said, “If a country has a lot of fake handsets, it means we are going to have many dropped calls. The more dropped calls you have the more revenue and business lost.” 

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