Communication Authority (CA) of Kenya announced that Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards will now be sold at designated locations to facilitate the registration of new lines in accordance with the authority policies.
According to the authority’s Director General Ezra Chiloba, sim cards hawking will no longer be allowed into the streets and those found will be fined Sh300, 000 fine or face a six- month jail term.
Kenyans have been rushing to Safaricom authorised shops to register their lines after CA declared that sim cards should be registered by April 15. Most were found that their IDs reflected that they have registered over 10 sim cards with their names.
According to CA, the cards are normally sold by hawkers without any presentation of ID, but now with the registration, it will ensure compliance with the legal requirements and protect consumers of telecommunications services.
The rule will be effective once gazetted according to the CA and it will be able to assist in streamlining the industry which has been marred by fraudulent use and misuse of multiple lines by subscribers with some sim cards being sold with other people’s identity card used to defraud other Kenyans or commit robbery
However, most hawkers from Kiambu County have today asked the CA to reconsider this claiming, as hawkers they have been able to penetrate in remote areas and to the vulnerable so that they can be able to communicate.
Speaking to KNA, a Kiambu salonist Jane marina, who sells Safaricom and Airtel sim cards as a side hustle, said this new regulation will affect thousands of small businesses and deny them the profit they used to get when selling sim cards to clients.
“I have been hawking on sim cards for the past eight years now. This business is paying school fees for my form one daughter and providing basic needs to my family. Now that the CA is passing the rule, life is going to be triple hard on us,” Jane Wambui, Safaricom simcard hawker in Kiambu says.
According to the hawkers, the move by CA could render most of them jobless since most of them did not go to school and do not have papers to get gainful employment
The CA Director General emphasised that sim cards can only be sold at designated points and no longer on the streets as it used to happen in order to reduce cases of financial fraud, kidnapping, and even terrorism
“Telecommunication operators and registration agents shall sell and register sim cards only in formal retail outlets, even during promotions, and shall ensure no hawking of line registration services, “the DG said.
By Celestine Chumba