Are you using a fake phone in Kenya? Directive to switch off fake phones good but untimely

Follow me on twitter  and be my friend on facebook to take the debate on fake phones a notch higher…also read this post to know how to detect a fake phone

Many phones being sold in Nairobi are probably fake...for a common consumer however it is hard to tell. Photo | Courtesy of Business Daily

A genuine phone registers both the IMEI code along with caller’s number on  mobile companies’ systems while fake gadgets record only the caller’s details. This makes it easier to clamp down on counterfeit phones meaning mobile phone users whose phones do not register an authentic IMEI ( unique serial number)  were surely going to be put off air.

But here comes a reprieve.

Communication Commission of Kenya has rescinded on its earlier directive that fake mobile phones should be switched off by end of September 2011.

The telecommunications regulator bowed to pressure from mobile phone companies and reversed the directive that would have seen more than  2.3 million fake mobile handsets put off air by end of September.

“We at the commission think consumer awareness on the health risks and security need to be carried out first and measures should be put in place to curb their entry into the country,”  Francis Wangusi, the acting director-general at CCK told Kenya’s Business Daily on Tuesday

I believe this is the right move since most consumers, even friends I know, are using fake cell phone unknowingly or out of ignorance.

He added that the regulator would only opt to switch off the fake handsets after assessing their impact on consumers who mobile operators reckon are largely unaware they are holding counterfeit mobile phones.

Indeed not many consumers  have mastered the art of detecting a counterfeit phone and even those who have an idea of what a fake phone sho8uld look like bother less either because they have no enough cash to purchase a genuine gadget or simply the fake ones just work as good as the fake ones.

Still, CCK has never taken time to educate the consumers on the need to use original phones or how to detect fake gadgets that are awash in the market.

It is imperative that CCK puts its house in order, rolls out an extensive anti-counterfeit  IEC (Information, Education and Communication) campaign   to enhance awareness consumers readiness to throw away the fake ones and embrace the orinal ones.

I also believe the CCK’s directive will be a tall order beacuse the watchdog has been sleeping on its laurels and let the ‘dirty’ trade take root to depths that will require incredible power to uproot.

Instead of just pronopuncing directives, CCK should delve deep into the problem and curtail the importaion of the fake phones in the first place. Otherwise the poor, illiterate consumers will alwyas be misled into buying fake products believibg they are original.

To make matters worse some of the fake phones look ‘very original’ and have extra features than the original, often expensive, ones. However I know the fake phones may end up being expensive in the long run as they bread down quick, they are covered by no warranty and they are no outlets for their repair.

But before consumers come to know this, CCK and other stakeholders must step up efforts and preach the ‘original’ sermon  to seduce consumers into towing the ‘original’ line and making a bee line to retailers that sell the original gadgets.

And by the way where are these outlets that sell original phones…because I know some that have embraced double standard by selling both the original and fake to ensure they net all the customers irrespective of their economic prowess.

It is not unusual for a retailer to present to a customer two phones, one ooriginal and another fake, and let the customer choose. Poor customers are likely to choose a fake one that works…after all to them, if they can call, receive a call, listen to radio, take a picture or video, play games and text via the ‘fake’ phone, why bother.

Lest I be misquoted , all I am trying to say is that CCK and other stakeholders must kick off a concerted campaign to educate consumers and put in place policies  that bans import and use of fake phones. Period.

The four telcos–Safaricom, Airtel, Yu and Orange – had objected to the move, arguing they stand to lose revenues in a business environment where ongoing price wars have cut profits. I agree.

And CCK must move with speed since the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) has raised concerns that Kenya loses nearly Sh3.2 billion annually through tax evasion and sale of counterfeit phones, a trade that is emerging as a money minting machine in downtown Nairobi and across major towns.

The lower prices of fake handsets—about a third of the cost of genuine handsets—have made them popular among consumers faced with strained purchasing power. Nothing can be further from the truth.

So when CCK on Tuesday overruled the decision by its immediate former director-general, Mr Charles Njoroge, arguing that the move was “drastic” and would spark consumer backlash…it was right. This is my opinion. You are also entitled to your opinion. That is democracy.

Just a hint on how to detect a fake phone: If you are using a Nokia phone, type in *#06# and a serial number should be displayed. If your phone is unable to do this, probably it is fake.

Another way to detect an original Nokia phone is to type in *#0000# The phone shall display info like language set, product code, model type, latest upadte etc….if your Nokia does not dispakly these deatils then probably it is fake.

I just tried that on my Nokia E7…mine is original for sure but I wonder if the one my sister bought for my mother from down town Nairobi is original…all the same I have been calling my mother on the phone but its originality I do not know.

I know many of my friends whose Nokia phones are out-rightly fake…they better tow line or be put off air in future

Another way to start douting originality of the phone is when the seller refuses to give you a valid warranty. All genuine phones come with warrant. But some original phones not meant for the Kenyan market may lack the warranty….but still avoid those because  it means they were probably smuggled into Kenya.

If you need help on how to detect a fake phone, contact me via twitter or facebook and let us keep talking. We need to clean Kenya of fake electronic gadgets. They simply worsen the e-waste menace

Follow me on twitter  and be my friend on facebook and let us take the debate on fake phones a notch higher

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4 responses to “Are you using a fake phone in Kenya? Directive to switch off fake phones good but untimely

  1. Fake phones are fake and meant for the fake guys…so if you did not know that and your using a fake one, drop it now

  2. that is not god us all kenya sisi ni masikini

  3. honestly Ratemo you are not being sincere with yourself or you are just a hypocrate……anyone in possession of a non genuine handset cannot be blamed for the same. the goverment allowed this all along and did nothing….meaning they had no objections to their presence. the idea of fake persons with fake phones replicates a man who has no heart for his fellow kind. being in possession of such a phone simply means one bought a phone from the market that was legally registered and a choice was made between buying a cheap affordable phone or an expensive phone that one may not have been able to afford unless by……..other means. service providers and regul;ators must caome up with a mean to educate the public and sensitise them on the need to buy originall products. outlets selling such stuff must be legally obligated to dispose them and stock genuine. law enforcers must with all dilligence rid the market and take to book those that violate the rule of law……every one is entitled to getting genuine products and not imitations. lastly for those who own such phones what is the way forward….use them but when you are able to dispose buy a geniune one because aftyer all the market will now be full of genuine products if we all play our part.

  4. That’s going to improve quality assurance in gadgets imported to Kenya…that’s cool

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