Telkom Kenya, the third biggest telco in the country has suffered dearly after the latest crackdown on irregularly registered SIM cards. The company lost 1.62 million subscribers between March last year and June this year.
From April last year, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) started switching off SIM cards that were not properly registered. According to the CA, irregularly registered SIM cards were used to perpetuate crime, including money laundering, kidnapping, malicious calls, cybercrime and mobile money fraud. Telcos were required to re-register their subscribers by updating their details with a digital passport-size photo of the customers.
Reports shows that Telkom had 2.25 million active subscribers as at June, a 39 percent dip from 4.14 million subscribers in March last year.
The crackdown slowed new subscriptions even as Safaricom and Airtel grew their active SIM cards by a combined 2.83 million between March and June, pushing the total number of active customers to 66.43 million from 64.96 million in March last year.
The other two telco competitors, Equitel and Jamii Telecom, grew their active customers by 264,890 in the period under review to hold a combined 1.91 million active users as at June. Telkom was the only major telco that lost subscribers during this time period.
“The slow growth in mobile subscriptions during the year is attributed to the SIM registration exercise that kicked-off in February 2022 with a deadline of October 2022 which resulted in deactivation of unregistered SIM cards,” the CA says in the latest industry report.