Those in possession of unregistered SIM cards or improperly unregistered SIM cards face fines of up to Ksh300,000 or serve a jail term of six months or both.
This is according to new regulations set by the Communications Authority (CA) aimed at pushing Kenyans to register their SIM cards afresh, which would include having a portrait photo taken.
CA Director General of Ezra Chiloba argued that registration is aimed at combating cybercrime and fraud in the digital space.
“There would be no extension so those still dragging their feet should wake up to the reality and register with their respective telecom service providers or face permanent deactivation,” Chiloba said.
“We want before the end of April all the networks to be cleaned up by deactivating all unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards from the networks.”
The guidelines say the registration of SIM cards will be done under the Kenya Information and Communications (Registration of SIM-cards) Regulations, 2015.
The regulator has given the mobile operators up to April 15 to register their customers afresh. Those that will not have been registered by then, risk being suspended. The subscribers risk deactivation in 90 days after suspension, if still not registered.
Already, an activist, Mr Eliud Karanja Matindi, has moved to court arguing that the directive from the CA is unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void and any collection, processing, and retention of photographs by mobile telephone service operators are unconstitutional.
“The Directive from the 1st Respondent for the 1st and 2nd Respondents and the Interested Party to carry out fresh registration of their existing and already registered mobile telephone service subscribers are unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void,” he said in an affidavit.
The case will be heard on June 8.