Mobile firms deactivated over 287,000 SIM cards in three months to June

Friday, September 23rd, 2022 06:44 | By
Mobile firms deactivated over 287,000 SIM cards in three months to June
A person using a mobile phone. Photo/Courtesy

Mobile operators deactivated 287,214 SIM cards in the three months to June 2022, even as the October 15 deadline issued by the Communications Authority (CA) for subscribers to validate their registration details gets closer.

According to the latest sector statistics by CA for the fourth quarter of the financial year 2021/ 2022, the deactivation led to a decline in active mobile subscriptions from 64.9 million to 64.7 million, translating to a mobile SIM penetration of 130.9 per cent.

Clean-up exercise

The regulator ordered all unregistered SIM cards in Kenya to be deactivated as part of  a clean-up exercise the State was undertaking in consolidating its efforts to improve data accuracy in the country.

The move is the third of its kind in the country with the previous once having been done in 2012 and 2018. 

In April this year, CA extended the deadline by a further six months to October 15, to address operators’ preparedness to ensure compliance, as well as the public outcry over a number of issues that included how to address the needs of subscribers outside the country and in rural and remote parts of the country.

There were also concerns on how to avail the service to the vulnerable population who may not be in position to present themselves physically for the exercise.

‘‘In order to ensure that operators meet their obligation, the Authority has decided to extend the SIM card registration validation period for a further six (6) months. The new deadline for updating subscriber registration details will be 15th October 2022,’’ CA Director General Ezra Chiloba said at the time.

The planned switch-off follows an audit that unearthed loopholes in adherence to SIM card registration laws by mobile network operators, with some SIM cards registered using wrong identification details, with other numbers flagged for being registered in the affected consumers’ names without their knowledge.

“In the January-March 2022 quarter, 124,689 SIM cards were deactivated as part of efforts to mitigate misuse of SIM cards for criminal intentions,” states the report.

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