Kenya’s ICT regulator – The Communications Authority (CA) has announced plans to restrict stolen and counterfeit phones from accessing network service within the country. The move which has long been practiced in western territories such as the United States, aims to deter phone theft in the country by not allowing such devices to access network service. It basically renders stolen phones as paperweights since they cannot function as they were originally intended.
According to the latest statement from the regulator, the Authority plans to develop a comprehensive database that will house all mobile devices in the country, thereby separating legitimate phones from those it considers not genuine denying them access to local network service providers. The Communications Authority plans to put in place a system that will be used by mobile service providers in the country to identify stolen or lost phones and restrict them from accessing services on their networks.
The system will analyze data acquired from various mobile providers to come up with a blacklist as well as a whitelist and a greylist of all devices being used in the country. From this information, the Authority is confident that it will get rid of all illegal and fake mobile phones that have somehow found their way into the local market.
Each mobile phone has a unique identifier dubbed as IMEI number that is used to uniquely identify them. To deny services to such mobile phones, the system will blacklist specific IMEI numbers categorized as either counterfeit or stolen.
The plan is expected to span from various sectors including when phones are being imported into the country. importers will be required to submit IMEI numbers of gadgets entering the country so as to lock out any illegal mobile handsets and other ICT devices from accessing the Kenyan market.
Kenyans in possession of counterfeit and illegal mobile phones will it be notified by various mobile service providers before being denied service. Additionally, operators will be required to put in place systems on their networks that will enable them to integrate with the CA’s management system which would be integrated with the global IMEI database.