Kenya's new government is considering a new law to require all mobile phone subscribers to register their identities with the network operators. The move, proposed in a private members bill by Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo is reported to be in response to threats sent by SMS during the recent post-election violence in the country.
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MPs are supporting the move - which would require an amendment to the Kenya Communications Action Order.
Many countries - mainly in Asia - have mandated similar moves for claimed security reasons. One interesting side effect of the move in most countries is a drop in the declared subscriber base as a percentage of the base with multiple SIM cards choose not to register their handset.
A project underway in Bangladesh at the moment threatens to cut the subscriber base by as much as 3 million customers according to recent claims from the telecoms regulator.
In Kenya, the move could be doubly interesting though - as Safaricom refuses to divulge how many of its subscribers are active - saying that it has an internal figure which even its recent share offering prospectus did not clarify.
Figures from the Mobile World database show that Safaricom ended last year with a declared 10.6 million subscribers, compared to 2.1 million for Celtel.
Source: Cellular News.