A senior official from the Rwanda Utilities Regulator Agency (RURA) has confirmed to ItWeb Africa that it will switch counterfeit phones handsets off the networks.
Regis Gatarayiha, director general of RURA, announced on Wednesday, 3 October 2012, that fake mobile phones handsets were affecting the quality of communication and posing a health risk to users.
"We are going to work on a methodology to disconnect fake phones off the network and we shall work with telecom companies.
"This is going to be worked on as soon as possible," Gatarayiha revealed.
"It's an initiative that has been agreed upon within the East African Communications Organisation (EACO)," Gatarayiha said. EACO is the regional body which brings together regulatory, postal, telecommunications and broadcasting organisations in the East African Community (EAC).
RURA is said to be working on a plan and soon, a directive to switch the fake phones off the networks would be announced.
In Kigali, all unregistered handsets and those with non-authentic Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) were considered to be counterfeit and will be disconnected from networks, according to RURA.
Statistics from RURA indicates that about 47.5% of Rwandans now have access to a mobile phones, and most of phone users are connected to MTN Rwanda, followed by Tigo, a subsidiary of Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular SA (MICC), and an Indian telecom giant, Airtel.
Handets have to be certified by Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and the counterfeit phones don't have OEM certification. so it will be easy to identify them.
Earlier this week, Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom announced the completion of the switch off exercise
for mobile handset owners with fake phones.