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Technology

Thousands face SIM de-activation

Stephen Chege, Safaricom director for corporate affairs (right) with CEO Bob Collymore. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE
Stephen Chege, Safaricom director for corporate affairs (right) with CEO Bob Collymore. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE 

Thousands of Safaricom and Airtel subscribers have less than a month to register their SIM cards afresh or face de-activation after it emerged that the details they used to register their mobile numbers do not match those at the Integrated Population Registration System (IPS). 

Safaricom and Airtel have in the past two weeks been sending SMS to the affected subscribers to confirm their registration details or asking them to visit the firms’ shops with their original ID and a copy to register again.

The push by the two mobile firms for fresh registration comes after the industry regulator, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), revised the rules for SIM card registration.

The new regulations, which define the legal process for deactivation of SIM cards, came into effect mid-September and gave the mobile operators 90 days to ensure that all lines on their network are registered.

This means that subscribers with unregistered SIM cards have about 27 days before losing their lines.

“Dear customer, to avoid disconnection of your line, please urgently confirm your registrations details by dialing *234# or calling customer care …,” reads part of Safaricom’s message to its customers.

Safaricom’s corporate affairs director Stephen Chege told the Business Daily that the telco needs more information from the subscribers who have received such texts.

“For a small number of subscribers who have received the message, it means that there is some information that we do not have which we need to obtain in order to have their full details on record,” Mr Chege said.

“If this information is not provided, we will be obliged to remove the subscribers from the network.”

Safaricom has previously said it was in the process of verifying details of some SIM cards on its network through the Integrated Population Registration System.

The telco has 23.3 million prepaid subscribers, according to the latest industry statistics for the year ended June 2015.
The operator in a previous interview said more than 23 million of the customers are fully registered, leaving about 300,000 at risk of deactivation.

Airtel is the second mobile operator with 6.8 million subscribers while Telkom Kenya, which trades as Orange, has four million subscribers.

The Business Daily could not determine how many of the subscribers face deactivations.

“Dear customer, the regulator had revised SIM registration requirements. Visit the nearest Airtel shop with your original ID and copy to ensure compliance,” Airtel said in an SMS notice to the affected subscribers.

Orange had said that all its four million prepaid customers are properly registered and that its agents are under strict instruction to follow the SIM registration rules.

SIM card registration is aimed at enhancing security.

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