Barely a week after mobile phone operators switched off fake handsets, technicians in the backstreets of Nairobi are activating the gadgets for as little as Sh1,000.
According to the industry regulator, Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), the technicians are copying identity codes of original gadgets to fake phones to give them a new lease of life.
“We are aware that this has been going on,” said Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) director-general Francis Wangusi, adding that those involved risk a jail term of up to five years and a fine of not less than Sh1 million or both.
The swiching-off exercise conducted on October 1 cut off many Kenyans unknowingly using counterfeit handsets.
CCK says even those who bought their phones abroad and had them switched off should not complain because they are cheating the systems of the respective countries.
“Such phones are usually bought and subscribed to a particular network on contractual basis for a certain number of years before being switched off. Using them on a local network is stealing into the network with a device meant for other networks,” Mr Wangusi said.
Every genuine mobile phone has a unique 15 digit international mobile phone identity (IMEI) upon production. It is this that traders are copying to switch on the fake phones.
CCK said deliberations are going on with private firms to recycle the fake gadgets.
Copyright : Nation Newspaper