More than 1.28 million unregistered SIM cards have been suspended from service in Kenya since the 31 Dec 2012 deadline of the registration exercise, communications industry regulator, Communications Commission of Kenya, at the close of the week.
The regulator said on Friday that the four local mobile networks had switched off 1,280,840 unregistered lines, five days after the expiry of the 31 December deadline.
Market leader, Safaricom, leads the pack with 800,000 unregistered cards already off-air. Yu and Orange have suspended 290,000 and 120,010 unregistered lines from service, respectively while Airtel has switched off 70,830 lines.
Releasing the statistics, CCK Director General, Francis Wangusi said the disconnection of unregistered SIM card was progressing well despite the initial hitches.
He attributed delays in disconnection of the more than six million unregistered SIM cards to verification of registration data received from mobile line dealers and agents countrywide.
“The verification exercise is quite involving as the mobile operators have to ensure that no registered mobile line is suspended from service.”
Wangusi said the overriding aim of the registration exercise was to achieve total compliance. He appealed to those who have not registered their lines to do so within the 90-day period before their SIM cards are permanently de-activated.
The government embarked on the de-activation in a bid to curb crime and the spreading of hate messages through SMS ahead of the General Election set for March.
The government wants to end cases of car-jacking, kidnapping of people and demand for ransom by criminals and the spreading of hate messages by rival political groups and their supporters which can spark violence during the elections.
As of December 2012, Kenya had 29.7 mobile telephony subscribers, with mobile phone service providers markers leader Safaricom boasting 17.2 million subscribers, while second-placed Airtel had 3.8 million subscribers.