Everything you need to know on April 15 deadline for SIM cards

The CA directive affects millions of SIM cards used by Kenyans

Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director-General Ezra Chiloba

Kenyans have just days left to ensure their subscriber identity module (SIM) cards are properly registered with their mobile service providers or risk having their services deactivated.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) says the clean up is aimed at combating crime as well as improving data security and accuracy.

The authority has emphasised that the April 15, 2022 deadline for the exercise will not be extended.

According to the Authority, a high number of SIM cards are unregistered, fraudulently registered or registered to multiple numbers without the owners' consent.

CA Director-General Ezra Chiloba has insisted that the directive is necessary, adding that there will be no exceptions.

“Of course, we want them to be switched off, they will not be able to access the services when that date comes. You need to provide details that are able to identify you,” Chiloba said.

Many Kenyans have, however, complained about the process being tedious and time-consuming questioning why it could not have been done remotely and automatically by the service providers.

A spot check at various Safaricom Shops in the city found long queues. The country's largest telecom by users has resorted to sending out mobile customer care desks to neighbourhoods, which also have endless queues. With a week left to the deadline.

Two previous similar exercises were conducted by CA,the then-Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK )in 2012 and again in 2018. The Authority argued that mobile service providers as well subscribers have still not met its requirements since.

“This has been an ongoing process over the last few years, the planned switch-off follows an audit that has unearthed loopholes in adherence to SIM card registration laws by mobile network operators,” CA explained.

In 2012, six million SIM cards that were not properly registered were deactivated and in the exercise 80% of SIM cards were properly registered.

The Authority has warned that those found to have submitted false information will face a six-month jail term or a Sh100,000 fine.

For a SIM card to qualify as properly registered in Kenya, CA requires network service providers to ascertain a user's:-

  1. A digital passport-size photo of the customer - this is the requirement most SIM card holders may not have updated in 2022
  2. Verifiable registration particulars which include a national ID for citizens and passports for refugees and other outsiders

An additional requirement for the network providers is to perform checks of the information submitted by a user against the two national reference databases - Integrated Population Registration System (IPRS) and PISCES (Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System).

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