The government off Kenya has decided to give mobile phone users upto the end of 2011 to have original handsets. The resolution has been arrived at after a consultative meeting between CCK, Nokia, the four mobile network operators and relevant government agencies (i.e. Kenya Bureau of Standards, Anti-Counterfeit Agency, Office of the President – Kenya Police and NSIS – and the Kenya Revenue Authority).
The meeting also resolved to carry out user awareness campaigns with the law enforcement organs to be involved in identifying the loopholes used in sneaking in the fake handsets into the country. The meeting also resolved that there will be no more activation of SIM cards which are being used on fake handsets. No new counterfeit handset will have its SIM card activated as from 30th September 2011.
The full statement is as follows;
RE: CONSULTATIVE MEETING ON THE PHASE OUT OF COUNTERFEIT MOBILE HANDSETS
The Commission today held a consultative meeting with the four mobile network operators, relevant government agencies (i.e. Kenya Bureau of Standards, Anti-Counterfeit Agency, Office of the President – Kenya Police and NSIS – and the Kenya Revenue Authority), Article 19 and equipment manufacturer Nokia to discuss the way forward in respect to the phase out of use of counterfeit mobile handsets in Kenya. It was observed that use of counterfeit handsets denies holders of Intellectual Property rights of their legal right to benefit from the fruits of their innovations. It also exposes consumers to health and security risks, and denies Government of revenue.
The meeting, which was quite fruitful, resolved as follows:
- The phase out of use of counterfeit handsets shall be done in a coordinated manner to involve all stakeholders including government agencies, industry players, consumers and equipment manufacturers. The participating government agencies re-affirmed their commitment to continue working together to stem the importation and use of counterfeit handsets in the country in an effective and sustainable manner.
- There is need for public awareness to be undertaken to sensitize consumers on the rationale behind the phasing out of counterfeit mobile handsets, the dangers associated with use of counterfeits, and the tentative deadline for deactivation of counterfeit mobile phones.
- To stem build up in the number of counterfeit mobile handsets in the market, there is need to stop the activation of new SIM cards using counterfeit mobile handsets. In this regard, it was resolved that no new SIM cards would be allowed to operate in counterfeits handsets tentatively as from 30th September 2011. A meeting of the technical teams from the four mobile operators, equipment manufacturers and CCK shall be held next Wednesday to deliberate on the suitability of this date.
- Use of counterfeit handsets shall be phased out of the market by the end of the year. Consumers using counterfeit mobile handsets therefore have (tentatively) up to 31st December 2011 to replace their mobile phones or risk de-activation. The actual date shall be confirmed during the meeting of the technical team next week.