Mobile subscribers rush to register their SIM cards to avoid getting their lines switched off as October 15 deadline looms.
Kenyans are rushing against time to have their SIM cards fully registered ahead of the October 15 deadline.
Large queues have been increasing recently at leading telcos, such as Safaricom, and Airtel as more mobile users troop to take part in the ongoing SIM card registration exercise.
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in April 2022 extended the deadline by six months to allow more mobile subscribers to register their SIM cards.
Official data from the Communications Authority of Kenya showed some 15 million mobile subscribers had not registered their SIM cards by August 30.
The data shows 80.7 percent of Safaricom’s 42.53 million subscribers had registered their SIM cards by the end of August with some 8.2 million yet to do so.
Airtel Kenya with 17.04 million subscribers was still waiting for some 4.65 million customers to register their lines with 72.7 percent having done so.
Meanwhile, Telkom Kenya had the least SIM card registration ratio among the three leading telcos as of August 30, with data showing it had registered only 36.3 percent (1.24 million) out of its 3.42 million subscribers by the end of August.
CA puts Kenya’s SIM subscriptions at 64.67 million. These low registration rates come even as the telcos continue to remind their subscribers to comply or risk being switched off.
“Your line is not registered and will be disconnected by October 15,” Safaricom said in text messages to its unregistered clients.
The initiative, for which the regulator had set an April 15 deadline, was derailed since few Kenyans showed up to register their information at first.
As time got closer to the deadline, however, CA was compelled to extend the registration period due to the length of the lines.
According to the CA, 200,000 SIM cards have already been deactivated as a result of being registered with incorrect identifying information.
Additionally, CA has put forth new rules that would oblige consumers to hand over biometric information—such as fingerprints and facial traits that help identify them—when registering their SIM cards.
In order to make it simple to verify and get mobile phone records for people and businesses, the CA is considering creating a database that will serve as a one-stop shop.
The database will include data on SIM card users and be connected to other governmental databases like the Registrar of Companies and the Dead Persons’ Database.
Along with preventing the use of registered SIMs belonging to deceased people for fraud, the action aims to root out mobile phone fraudsters.