Kenyans who do not register their SIM cards by next week risk being disconnected and facing legal consequences. Mobile phone subscribers who fail to register their SIM cards with their respective telecommunication service providers by April 15, 2022, face fines of up to Sh300,000 or a six-month jail sentence, or both, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director-General Ezra Chiloba. SIM card registration, according to the CA, is aimed at combatting cybercrime and fraud in the digital arena.
Since 2015, there has been a tug-of-war between the Authority and telecommunications service providers over sim-card registration, with the latter repeatedly requesting an extension of the deadline. “There will be no extension,” Chiloba stated, “so those who are still dragging their feet should face reality and register with their respective telecom service providers or face permanent deactivation.” Chiloba requested that mobile network operators expedite the data cleanup process and deactivate any unregistered and illegally registered SIM cards, stating that no extensions will be granted after the deadline.
The required SIM registration is being enforced in response to an increase in mobile phone fraud. “By the end of April, we intend to have cleaned up all the networks by deactivating all unregistered and illegally registered SIM cards,” Chiloba stated. He stated that Kenya will join other governments across the world that have developed similar regulations and collected biometric data through a telecom company registration process in order to improve cybersecurity. At the same time, Chiloba cautioned parents against registering SIM cards with their credentials for children under the age of 18.
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