Kenyans have until Sunday to register all Simcards or be disconnected.
As expected of Kenyans and deadlines, mobile phone company outlets were turned into a beehive of activity on Friday as phone users rushed to have their SIMs registered.
There are close to 30 million mobile phone users in Kenya.
A Kenya government directive requires that ALL phone numbers MUST be registered by 31st December 2012.
This includes lines belonging to children under the age of 18 and SIM cards used in modems or any other data devices such as iPads, iPhones and Tablets.
According to Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) director, Francis Wangusi, the exercise had experienced challenges arising from lack of national identity cards among many mobile users but said the cases will be dealt with individually.
A week ago, Safaricom said it had registered 90 per cent of its users and Essar Telecom said only 34 per cent of its customers had registered.
Airtel to had reported registering over 80 per cent of its subscribers,
The regulator said it is compiling the total number of lines registered, to be announced by end of the month.
Most Kenyans who talked to BiztechAfrica seemed ignorant of the requirement to register even numbers used in modems
“I did not know I also need to register my modem Simcard…I thought the directive applies only to phone simcards,” said Mercy Ometar, a Nairobi resident.
According to Communication Commission of Kenya, SIM card registration is important, as it will help reduce SIM related crimes, which include hate messages, kidnappings, fraud in mobile money and many others.
To register all a phone user needs to do is visit any of his mobile service provider operator shop, dealer or agent carrying official identification documents.
Those who have registered on mobile money transfer services like M-PESA Yu cash and Airtel Money and have not updated their physical address, postal address and alternative number also need to do so.
For Safaricom for instance, MPESA users only need to dial *232# to update and complete registration on their own.
There are over 29.7 million mobile according to the CCK fourth quarter report of the FY 2011/12. At the end of the quarter under review, mobile telephony penetration was posted at 75.4 percent up from 74.0 per cent recorded at the close of the previous quarter.
Two years ago, the commission had embarked on the registration but it was unsuccessful since there was no law that compelled operators to switch off unregistered customers. But an amendment to the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998 now gives the move legal backing.
By end of September 2010 when the last registration exercise was postponed, close to 62 per cent out of the then estimated 20 million mobile users had registered their numbers.