One of every five handsets in Kenya is fake

Posted on August 23, 2011



The increase penetration of mobile phones in the country has offered an opportunity for fake mobile handsets to thrive in Kenya.

According to Safaricom Limited, one in every five handsets used locally is fake and might soon be switched off from the networks.

As part of the war against counterfeits, the Communications Commission of Kenya had earlier on issued a directive to mobile network operators to switch off all fake phones from their networks.

This could have seen an estimated three million subscribers lose network signals from the four operators.

How this works is that the operators are able to recognize and register the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) of every phone assigned to their networks.

They are able to distinguish between the fakes and genuines if the IMEI unique 15 digit number is not registered in their networks.

Nairobi and other major towns in Kenya has several streets in which the fake phones  thrive especially on low pricing.


Most of the phones are from China and specifically Shanzhai.

Shanzhai is a tech market in Shanghai, China. Shanzhai is the Chinese term used inside the middle kingdom for counterfeit or copied goods.


Read more about Shanzhai here

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