Safaricom has announced that it has switched off 800,000 unregistered SIM cards in a phased exercise. The exercise seeks to comply with the newly published Government regulations on mandatory SIM card registration. According to a statement from the giant mobile network operator, it conducted the first phase of the switch off on Thursday evening after the system had been updated with registrations that came in on the 31st of December 2012.

Company CEO Mr. Bob Collymore said, “We have been doing our best to update the electronic records after the last minute rush that saw a huge number of customers register their SIMs between the 31st of December 2012 and yesterday. We are refining the switch off process and it will continue into the weekend and those affected by the blocking will be unable to make calls or utilise any of our services until their SIM cards are registered.”

The operator which is the largest in the country has also announced that it has so far registered over 85% of its subscriber base. Unregistered subscribers who get switched off are advised to visit Safaricom shops and authorised dealer outlets to start the process of reinstatement.

But some of the affected subscribers have indicated that they are still able to receive calls and SMS but only the outgoing services have been blocked.