Kenyans will now have the unique ability to be able to identify and verify if their mobile phones are fake or legitimate, thanks to a new technological initiative that is set to be introduced by the country’s telecommunications authority, CA.
According to reports, CA intends to build an online platform where Kenyans will be able to verify the authenticity of their phones. This is one of the steps CA is taking to fight the sale and distribution of fake phones to Kenyans.
CA wants to create a web-based platform that will allow mobile phone users to enter their phone’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and search to see if their phone is genuine, the report read.
Counterfeit cell phones are made by manufacturers who steal the designs and trademarks of real cell phone companies to trick buyers. These discounts are often cheaper than the original phone which makes them more attractive to cost-conscious buyers, but they often lack some of the features of the real ones.
“This project aims to provide users with an accessible and user-friendly platform to verify the authenticity of their mobile phones. The platform will allow users to check the authenticity of their phone using the phone’s unique IMEI number regardless of their location or financial status,” CA said in the tender document.
“This will enable consumers to identify fake products, promote the use of genuine mobile phones, and reduce the sale of fake phones in Kenya.” According to the Authority, between 30 and 40 percent of mobile phones in the country are fake. CA says there were about 64.67 million devices in use in Kenya by September 2023.
This means that between 18.87 million and 25.16 million of these mobile devices are fake, according to his estimates. Counterfeit phones are often distributed through informal channels such as street vendors, online marketplaces, and unlicensed retailers that are difficult to track.
CA says that these fake phones often lack security standards, after-sales support and warranty, thus posing a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers. Furthermore, the sale of counterfeit phones deprives the government of potential tax revenue and undermines the growth of the mobile phone industry in Kenya, it added.