The Communications Authority of Kenya warns that mobile phone subscribers who fail to register their SIM cards with respective telecommunication service providers by mid this month risk disconnection and penalties as prescribed under the law.
CA Director General Ezra Chiloba says SIM card registration is aimed at combating cybercrime and fraud in the digital space.
There has been a push and pull between the Authority and telecommunications service providers over sim-card registration since 2015 who have sought an extension of the deadline for the sim-card registration on numerous occasions.
And now CA says enough is enough and that the regulations would be implemented from mid this month, meaning that those in possession of unregistered sim-cards face fines of up to Kshs. 300,000 or serve a jail term of six months, or both.
“There would be no extension so those still dragging their feet should wake up to the reality and register with their respective telecom service providers or face permanent deactivation,” said Chiloba.
Chiloba asked mobile network operators to speed up the data cleanup exercise and deactivation of all unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards, noting that no extension would be offered beyond the set deadline.
The mandatory SIM registration is being implemented in the wake of growing incidents of fraud involving mobile phones.
“We want before the end of April all the networks to be cleaned up by deactivating all unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards from the networks,” said Chiloba.
He said Kenya will join other countries in the world that have developed similar policies and collected biometric data through a registration process by telecom companies in a bid to boost cybersecurity.
However, Chiloba warned parents against registering SIM cards with their own credentials for their children who are above 18 years to operate.
He added that previously data systems in the country remained non-digitised due to poor information and communication infrastructure which is no longer the case at the moment when the digital divide is narrowing.
“It means that criminals and even terrorists can use unregistered SIM cards for anonymity and avoiding detection by the authorities,” he said adding that the registration will help in facilitating crime tracking and prevention by the security agencies.
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