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SIM card registration fight flares up in Kenya

SIM card registration fight flares up in Kenya

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has accused local operators and users of not complying with the law regarding SIM card registration and has issued a directive that all unregistered or partially registered SIM cards be suspended or deactivated.

A public notice signed by Francis Wangusi, Director General Board of the Communications Authority of Kenya, stated, "It has come to the attention of the Authority that Mobile Network Operators and subscribers are not complying with the requirements of the Kenya Information and Communications (Registration of SIM-Cards) Regulations, 2015."

"The Regulations require all SIM cards to be registered prior to activation. The Authority has, therefore, directed all mobile operators to suspend with immediate effect all SIM cards whose registration status is not in compliance with the SIM-Card regulations."

White the Authority did not reveal how many SIM cards are likely to be affected, Wangusi said all subscribers whose SIM cards are suspended can have these reactivated once all relevant information is communicated to their service provider.

Kenya's stance on SIM card registrations comes two weeks after its counterpart in Uganda halted the process in order to ensure compliance with a specific regulation – that any new SIM cards be matched to an identity on the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) database.

In a subsequent development the Communications Commission of Uganda (UCC) issued a warning that it would revoke mobile network operator Africell's operating license for failure to adhere to its directive.

The action by Communications Authority of Kenya comes a day after the organisation's Chairman Ngene Gituku called for licensees, including mobile operators, to contribute to the Universal Service Fund (USF) established to support Kenya's quest to become a digital economy through an increase in access to broadband connectivity.

"The Universal Service Fund (USF) has so far collected Ksh.7.1 billion. Closing the access gaps requires Ksh.75 billion. Closing the broadband access gap will cost Ksh.250 billion." said Gituku.

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