Having recently posted on mobile money and Safaricom’s M-Pesa and its current financial well-being I am convinced of the long term viability of services such as the popular and successful M-Pesa in Kenya. In my posts I have touched on the topic of regulation and the convergence of the telecommunications industry with the banking sector. So, I was very interested to find the news item below via the Wireless Federation. Unfortunately, it appears that topics such as fraud and identity theft which have become common themes in discussions of online commerce are unlikely to spare the world of mobile communications. Regulators in Kenya have taken a stance and seem to have established a registration requirement for mobile subscribers.
July 24th, 2009
Safaricom has endorsed recent presidential directive requiring all mobile phone subscribers to be registered, a way to curb criminal activities. The firm said it would support the efforts being undertaken to improve the security of citizens.
“An enabling law will certainly give us the much-needed legal muscle to extend this to our entire network. It would map out how these records are to be used and give us the legal right to ask our subscribers for their details,” said Chief Executive Officer Mr Michael Joseph.
The process is expected to complete within six months with the Communication Commission of Kenya spearheading the efforts.
“We need to do this as a country. Safaricom already has over half of our subscriber base registered through our M-PESA and PostPay services and the popular Bonga loyalty scheme, for which registration is a standard requirement,” added Mr Joseph.
“Registration is no panacea to our crime problems and it can never be surrogate to professional police investigations. As is stands, criminals will always steal phones and even identities of innocent people, but it is a necessary first step in helping us combat the recent upsurge of mobile-phone related crime. At the end of the day, crime is a societal problem whose conquest requires the concerted efforts of all. At Safaricom, we have always played our part and that will continue,” said Mr Joseph.