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EAC countries switch off counterfeit phones

11 October 2012, 11:06 Roggers Momata

Following constant lobbying from major mobile manufacturers to have all counterfeit mobile phones switched off and prevented from flooding the local markets, Kenya emerged as the first country to respond to the grievances pressed forward by manufacturers such as Samsung and Nokia. Apparently, over 1.5 million fake mobile handsets were switched off in an exercise which took place in the better part of last week.

Despite the accusations being forwarded by aggrieved customers, Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) maintains that it would continue with its stand of having all the counterfeits switched off from the local networks as they not only pose a criminal threat to security agents in the country but also present a health hazard to the users. In response to the directive issued by CCK, all the four major mobile operators in the country have so far forwarded a list of over 1.5 million counterfeit mobile phones as determined by their systems.

The latest developments over the achievement made by the mobile operators is now set to be replicated across the East African Community (EAC) following an agreement to have all the rest of the regional countries to follow in Kenya’s footsteps. This measure would assist in avoiding a possible dumping of all already switched off mobile handsets into the neighbouring markets. Should this be implemented, it would mean that safety standards would be enhanced to a greater percentage across the East African Community (EAC).

Already Uganda and Zambia are working out on plans to undertake the switch off which would prevent all fake phones majority of which are believed to emanate from China. So far, Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) have already confirmed the switching off of about 2,700 counterfeit Samsung mobile handsets in an ongoing process.

Also in progress is Rwanda’s Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) which has commenced on plans to lock all fake phones currently operating in their networks and those that are still infiltrating their markets.

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