Safaricom at 93%, Airtel at 81.2% as regulator orders MNOs to ensure 100% compliance in 2 months

As the country, mobile operators, and subscribers marked a day after the October 15, 2022 SIM verification deadline, it emerges that subscribers have continuously made concerted efforts to ensure that there lines are verified in time and not disconnected from the networks.

In an update to the media, industry regulator the Communications Authority (CA) stated that Safaricom currently leads in the number of registered and verified SIM cards followed by Airtel Kenya. However, Telkom Kenya is yet to furnish the CA with the updated figures of its registered and verified customers.

The SIM verification deadline comes 6 months after the April 15, 2022 extension by the CA. The deadline was extended by a further 6 months to give service providers and subscribers sufficient time to comply.

(TOP: CA director general Ezra Chiloba at the opening session of the Annual Cybersecurity Conference at Lake Naivasha Resort in Naivasha). 

“Over the period, we have witnessed major improvements in compliance levels by the MNOs. In the last 8 months, we have seen Safaricom compliance levels move from 52% to 93% while Airtel Kenya move from 42% to 81.2%. Each operator is under obligation to ensure 100% compliance. The Telkom Kenya case is still under review and more details will be provided upon conclusion of the review,” said CA director general Ezra Chiloba.

Mr Chiloba made the announcement at the opening session of the Annual Cybersecurity Conference, which runs from October 17 to 19, 2022 at Lake Naivasha Resort in Naivasha town.

All the MNOs had until midnight of October 15, 2022 to ensure that all subscribers on their respective networks had updated their SIM card registration details in line with the law.

“Taking into account the improved level of performance so far, MNOs are directed to take additional steps to ensure 100% compliance in the next 60 days… For the avoidance of doubt, the 60 days is not an extension, but a period for the MNOs to take certain actions including denial of service to prompt further compliance,” added Chiloba.

CA has also directed operators to put in place various measures to compel unverified subscribers to comply with the directive. The measures and steps include graduated denial of service to SIM card holders that have not been duly registered and eventual deactivation. The services to be affected by this action include voice, SMS, data, and mobile banking services.

And apart from their subscribers, MNOs are not yet out the woods either as regards SIM verification. As the verification exercise continues, the CA has stated that it will undertake a compliance audit to ascertain the level of compliance. After the audit, any MNO found to be non-compliant shall be liable to regulatory measures including a penalty of up to 0.5% of their Annual Gross Turnover.

The SIM card registration is key to protecting consumers of telecoms services and enhancing confidence in the use of ICTs which are now at the centre of our country’s digital transformation agenda.

Once it is concluded, the SIM verification exercise is likely to have a dent on the MNOs’ overall subscriber numbers, mainly as a result of numbers that will be deactivated and deleted from the operators’ database due to lack of use. As of September this year, the country’s mobile network operators – Safaricom, Airtel Kenya, Telkom Kenya, Jamii Telecom, and Equitel – had deactivated a total of 287,214 SIM cards in the three months between May to June 2022.


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