ICT regulator Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) has invited public views on the proposed guidelines for addressing counterfeit, stolen and illegal ICT devices in the country.
The regulator says the public, stakeholders and other interested parties have up to January 27 to provide any suggestions, justifications, views and inputs in enhancing the implementation of the guidelines.
CAK is also responsible for managing the country’s numbering and frequency spectrum resources, administering the Universal Service Fund (USF) as well as protecting the interests of users of ICT services.
“In this regard, the Authority has developed guidelines for addressing counterfeit, stolen and illegal ICT devices in Kenya to prevent their use on public communication networks in Kenya,” the CAK said in a public notice.
Within the proposed guidelines include the deployment and maintenance of a device registration database which will aid to identify those devices that have accomplished a legal process of importation or acquisition locally or abroad.
“The Regulations also provide that a supplier, importer or distributor shall, before selling any communication equipment, ensure that the equipment meets the standards and specifications set out by the Authority and is compatible with the public communications networks.
“A service provider shall not connect type-approved communication equipment to public networks before the equipment is inspected by the Authority and network operators. This is done to ensure: that the country meets national standards of interoperability and safety; protect consumers from poor quality and harmful equipment; and, protect communications networks from substandard equipment and interference of such equipment or networks.”
According to CAK, the access and affordability of devices have created a gap in the market. As a result, some illegitimate manufacturers have been developing counterfeit mobile devices and the proliferation of stolen devices in the market.
“Moreover, illegal network devices that terminate international traffic onto the public telecommunications networks lead to revenue loss for mobile operators and the government and expose the country to security threats,” says CAK.
Therefore, CAK says there is an “urgent need to curb this trend through a regulatory intervention to combat the use of stolen devices and counterfeit devices.
“This will help protect property rights, protect consumers from harmful devices, prevent revenue loss to the government and legitimate manufacturers, help law enforcement agencies in curbing theft as well as play a role in improvement of quality of service and experience.”
Kenya’s Anti-Counterfeit Agency recently said the country is losing between KSh85 billion and KSh100 billion annually to counterfeiting activities.