The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) has announced that mobile phone subscribers will be required to register their details with operators by the end of July or risk having their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards deactivated. Subscribers will now be obliged to give their full names, physical and postal addresses, dates of birth, and alternative means of contact when they purchase a new SIM card. Adults will have to show their identification cards, whilst minors will have to be accompanied by a guardian. The mandatory SIM card registration scheme is expected to record the personal details of some 20 million subscribers by 30 July. CCK Director General Charles Njoroge commented: ‘The process started last year and we have been working together as an industry. So far, between 50% and 60% of the subscribers have been registered’.
Safaricom and Zain have already registered a significant proportion of their customer base, courtesy of their money transfer services, M-Pesa and Zap, which require customers to register before they can access the services. Telkom Kenya said it had details of its data clients, whilst Essar Telecom said that it has the mechanisms in place to gather the needed information. However, the cellcos have all asked for additional time to complete the process. Zain Kenya Chief Executive Rene Meza stressed: ‘The process is complex and will require consumer education before all the subscribers buy the idea, so we might need a little more time’.