Safaricom subscribers are reeling in confusion as it has emerged that they might have to go through with the re-registration process after all. Last week, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) clarified that the exercise was targeting users who had not previously registered their lines.
The CEO of CA Ezra Chiloba issued a statement after public uproar over the directive to register all SIM cards afresh. He said that if one’s details were fully captured, they do not need fresh registration.
“And so if you are duly registered, then you do not need to go to your operator and service provider to get re-registered,” he said.
Ideally, users can check their registration status by dialing *106#. Safaricom subscribers who had previously registered their lines are now complaining that even after the clarification, the response from the USSD code says that they are not compliant as per government regulations.
Kenyans had complained against the directive claiming that they had already registered their lines and that the Telcos already had all the necessary documentation and information including ID numbers.
The conflicting information from the CA and Safaricom created fresh confusion especially because the deadline is only a day away. The CA had set April 15 as the deadline, after which the number will be blocked with subscribers risking a Sh300,000 fine and a six-month jail term.
“Initially, all we were required to do is dial *106# to confirm which numbers are registered under your ID. Now some of the customers whose SIM cards are already registered are still required to visit Safaricom shops to complete the registration.” a Safaricom customer said.
“I am one of those customers; I have two lines, registration on one is complete, but I received an SMS asking me to go and complete registration for the other line,”
As of April 13, Safaricom responded to another customer, confirming to him that he was not compliant.
“Hi Kenn, you had just checked numbers registered using your ID. The second message, shows that you are fully to comply with the registration status as required. Visit nearest customer care shop/M-Pesa agent or dealer to submit your details,” Safaricom responded.
@KeeLo_254 : Hi Kenn, you had just checked numbers registered using your ID. The second message, shows that you are fully to comply with the registration status as required. Visit nearest customer care shop/M-Pesa agent or dealer to submit your details.^YK
— Safaricom Care (@Safaricom_Care) April 13, 2022
In one instance, a Safaricom subscriber posed a question to the Telco, asking what would happen to their M-Shwari loan should they fail to register their lines. The telco responded saying the subscriber would still be reported to the Credit Registration Bureau (CRB). The irony of this is that to report a user to the CRB, the Telco must forward the clients’ personal details to the bureau; details which Safaricom captures during the registration process and is already at their disposal.
The process currently involves capturing the users’ image, something that Kenyans believe is in CA’s interests to mine data. The Kenya Information and Communications (Registration of SIM-Card) Regulations, 2015, provide that subscribers shall be registered after they issue a National ID or a Passport. The current exercise however, does not allow for registration using passports, and asks for extra details including an image and e-signature.
Telkom and Airtel have tried to respond to the public uproar by providing links to allow users register remotely. Safaricom is however, still asking its subscribers to present themselves physically at their shops for re-registration.