All our customers, new & existing, have to register their lines afresh. Pass by an Airtel shop with your original ID to register. ^Jamo.
— Airtel Kenya (@AIRTEL_KE) January 12, 2016
In 2013, the Kenyan government directed all four Telcos at the time to register all SIM cards held by their subscribers. The directive followed the enactment of the Kenya Information and Communication Act, to register and store the details of all their mobile subscribers. The same has continued whenever a subscribers buys a new SIM card. In March 2015, the government unveiled the Integrated Population Registration System (IPRS) set to serve as the single one stop shop for personal information and biometric for both locals and foreigners. The government further announced plans to have banks and telcos authenticate their customer data using the platform. Through the Central Bank of Kenya, the government issued strict guidelines to banks and telecommunication companies to confirm customers’ identity card numbers using the system before registering them. The directive sought to curb money laundering and financing of terrorist activities.
Still in 2015, the Communications Authority of Kenya issued new rules under the Kenya Information and Communications (Registration of SlM-cards) Regulations 2015. The new rules require telcos to send notices to subscribers whose Sim cards are not registered telling them of their intent to block the sim cards. They also define the legal technicalities involved in SIM card deactivation of unregistered SIM cards. The deactivation will also affect sim cards registered with false information. The rules also impose harsh penalties for failure to register lines with offenders charged Kshs. 300,000 or face a 6 month jail term.
The Communications Authority has also been increasingly aware of discrepancies in the numbers of subscribers offered by Telcos. This where telcos register subscribers but the information is not verified. Some Telcos have also not been stringent in following the rules to retain/increase subscriber numbers. With the new rules, fake names, illegal schemes such as SimBox tools will be routed. The CA has in the last few months raided illegal operations offering international calls at reduced costs thereby costing both the Telcos and government revenues.
Telco Airtel Kenya has embarked on a plan to register all new and existing lines on its network. Airtel has 19.1% of the telco market share with 7.2 Million subscribers. Of the 7.2 Million, 7.1 Million are pre-paid subs with post-pay subs at 146,873 subscribers. This is based of the Communications Authority of Kenya Q1 sector statistics report for the financial year 2015/2016 (July-September 2015). The regulations by CA state that a telco shall suspend services of an unregistered subscriber, if the unregistered subscriber fails to comply with the Regulations in 30 days. So, make sure you register your SIM Cards.