Kenya’s largest telco Safaricom finds itself on the receiving end of criticism from a large section of its customers over the push to have subscribers register their SIM cards afresh.
The push follows a directive communicated by the Communications Authority. CA Director-General Ezra Chiloba had warned that those who fail to register their lines face fines of Ksh300,000 or six-month jail terms.
Aside from those questioning the legality of the process in its entirety, others observed that it is already a requirement for SIM cards to be registered with a National ID upon purchase – posing the question why the current exercise is necessary.
Safaricom also caught some flak for requiring its millions of subscribers to visit a Safaricom shop or d****r to complete the registration. Its biggest rival Airtel, for instance, is allowing customers to complete the entire process online.
Many Kenyans online highlighted the irony of Safaricom, Kenya’s biggest tech company, being unable to offer online registration. Among those who took on the telco are Kenya’s Ambassador to the UK Manoah Esipisu and tech thought leader Sheila Birgen, among several others.
Safaricom’s customer care channels were flooded with enquiries and complaints from concerned customers over the directive.
Sample some of the reactions below;
Someone has asked Safaricom what will happen to his Mshwari loan if he doesn’t register his line afresh. Safaricom admin says they’ll still send his details to CRB. The guy has asked Safaricom why they can’t use those details to register his line. The admin has said Abujubuju.
— Gabriel Oguda (@gabrieloguda) April 8, 2022
No Kenyan should be inconvenienced or put to unnecessary expense even for Kshs 1 by mobile phone services providers. It is time we said NO to this nonsense. Let us see if Safaricom will disconnect the over 10M subscribers if we all say NO this u******l and unwarranted demand.
— Nelson Havi (@NelsonHavi) April 8, 2022
Which details are u forwarding to CRB? Use the same for now
— Weldon keter (@weldonkheter) April 8, 2022
Hey @Safaricom_Care is there an online platform to update my SIM card information? It’s 2022, nobody leaves the house anymore.
— Stay Dangerous 😡 (@i_Elvis_) April 6, 2022
For almost two years now, Safaricom has been reminding us to check the lines that are registered with our IDs. This means that they have those details already, CA should be clear on why they want another register of sim cards.
— Oliver Mathenge (@OliverMathenge) April 8, 2022