Dont buy unlocked phones or risk 5 year jail term, Orange warns

Integrated telecommunications solutions provider Telkom Kenya has moved to implore its subscribers to keep away from purchasing gray handsets or risk being prosecuted for facilitating the reprogramming of mobile phone handsets.

Following the presidential assent of the Kenya Communications (amendment) bill of 2008, reprogramming of network locked handsets sourced locally or from abroad was effectively outlawed and a punitive Kshs 1million fine introduced.

Speaking when he responded to queries over increased cases of mobile phone unblocking, Telkom Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mr Mickael Ghossein reiterated the illegal aspect of mobile phone unblocking and challenged the police and the Communications Commission of Kenya to swiftly move in to enforce the law.

“As an organization, we are playing our role in raising awareness to the fact that mobile reprogramming is illegal and carries a Kshs 1million fine not to mention a five year jail term but the police and CCK now need to move in and manage the situation,” Ghossein said.

And added: “to be on the safe side, we are now advising all our customers to buy their phones from Orange shops and avoid all gray phones which ultimately cost more.”

The warning by Orange comes hot on the heels of the local launch of the all new Apple iPhone 3GS for the local market which has coincided with the market flooding of gray versions. Subscribers holding the gray iPhone 3GS versions have been constantly complaining of poor service and have had to illegally resort to back street phone unblocking merchants.

Following the queries, Ghossein confirmed that a global licensing deal with Apple Computers in the United States ensures that the iPhone 3GS will only be network supported on the Orange network and not on any other.

Such network access is security controlled through an advanced operating systems software integrated only on the approved networks, Ghossein explained.

And added: “most gray iPhones are network locked to operators abroad and therefore crash once you try to use them on local unsupported networks. The only remedy for this is to go for approved handsets that are now available at Orange Shops.”

Following a global licensing deal with Apple Computers the manufacturers of the iPhone range of smart phones, Kenyan consumers can now exclusively access original iPhone 3GS handsets at all Orange shops countrywide.

The iconic Smart phone globally described as the fastest, most powerful iPhone yet is packed with incredible new features including improved speed and performance.

The iPhone 3GS is the fastest, most powerful iPhone loaded with incredible new features including a longer battery life, a high-quality 3 megapixel autofocus camera, easy to use video recording and hands free voice control function.

Having experienced the power of an iPhone 3GS handset firsthand, Ghossein confirmed that the iPhone 3GS is not only faster, but with longer battery life you can watch more videos, listen to more music, browse the Internet or keep using your favorite apps even longer.

From a technical perspective, Ghossein explained that the iPhone 3GS is powered by the new iPhone operating Systems (OS) 3.0, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with over 100 new features such as Cut, Copy and Paste, MMS, Spotlight Search, landscape keyboard and more.

The voice control feature in the iPhone 3GS offers hands free operation for both iPhone and iPod functions. Simply speak the appropriate commands into the built-in microphone or headset microphone to dial by name or number.

With voice control you can play your favorite music by artist, album or playlist and activate the Genius feature by saying “play more songs like this.” You can also tell iPhone to pause the music, play the next track, turn on shuffle or ask, “What’s playing right now?”

The new iPhone 3GS is available at all Orange Shops in either the 16 or 32Gb memory capacity versions with prices starting from Kshs 44,999/=.

Globally, Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh.

Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications and is set to commercially market the new iPad.

Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone.


Written by Robert

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (


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