Safaricom has confirmed that it had completed the blocking of all counterfeit mobile phone handsets on its network. The number being 680,000 customers out of its 19.1 million subscriber base. Communications Commission of Kenya “CCK” had issued the directive to the industry compelling all service providers to ensure that counterfeit phones were blocked from accessing Kenyan mobile networks with effect from 30th September 2012.
According to Safaricom it is too early to assess the financial implications of the blocking exercise, but initial analysis of the customers impacted so far are mostly in areas around Nairobi, Rift Valley, Central and Eastern. Combined, these areas accounted for more than 60% of the targeted counterfeit phones.
CEO Bob Collymore stated,
We deeply regret the inconvenience and anxiety that this exercise has caused amongst our customers. We realise that they have little to do with presence of these counterfeit devices in the country and it is unfortunate that they have had to shoulder the negative consequences of the same. In order to mitigate the inconvenience we have been contacting all affected customers and providing them with the option of purchasing affordable genuine phones or redeeming their Bonga Loyalty Scheme Points for new handsets.
We recognise that blocking handsets alone is not the long term solution and we call for more support to the CCK by related Government agencies to block entry and sale of the counterfeit devices and to step up prosecution of those who engage in their illegal