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Kenya’s comms regulator deactivates a further 100,000 SIM cards

Kenya , 24 Jun 2022

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has deactivated 124,000 SIM cards as at end of March 2022.

According to the quarterly report, the number of active SIM cards declined by 124,689 to 64.9 million, down from 65.1 million subscriptions in the preceding quarter.

The report states: ‘‘The decline in SIM subscriptions is partly attributed to the ongoing SIM registration exercise during which a number of SIM cards have been deactivated.”

The CA’s report adds that the number of mobile subscription also dropped slightly, due to adjustment of official population numbers as well as the deregistration of SIM cards.

It states: “The report shows that 60.1 million mobile phone devices were connected to mobile networks as of 31st March 2022, out of which 26.5 million were smartphones while 33.6 million were feature phones. Subsequently pushing their penetration rates now stand at 54.6 percent and 69.2 percent respectively computed as a percentage of the total population.”

The CA asserts that most of the deregistered SIM cards were being used to commit crime, most notably SIM swap fraud.

Criminals register SIM cards with their victim’s details, then steal from mobile wallets and apply for multiple mobile loans.

The SIM Card Registration Regulations 2015 require that mobile operators have updated details of their subscribers, and retain a copy of identification among other details.

Kenyan authorities have set aside October 2022 to initiate a mass deregistration of illegal SIM cards. The original deadline of 15 April was rescheduled following public outcry over short notice.

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