Zambia moves ahead with fake phone plans

Many hands with mobile phonesZambia is moving ahead with plans to ban counterfeit cellphones by introducing mandatory IMEI registration.

The rise in anti-counterfeiting activity in Zambia follows last year’s shutdown of fake phones in Kenya. Zambia began by switching off 2,700 fake Samsung handsets, and is now accelerating the plan by rolling out International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) registration.

"Once the IMEI registration is implemented, these counterfeit phones will not be able to work on any network in this country," the Zambia Information Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) said in a statement.

IMEIs are unique numbers - although there is some duplication - used to identify mobile phones. India, Dubai and others have used IMEIs to spot counterfeit mobile phones. However, India, which took action against fake phones in 2009, has struggled to eradicate fakes using IMEIs.

ZICTA is working with the Zambia Bureau of Standards and the Zambia Revenue Authority to cut out fake phones, and has signed a memorandum of understanding with both organisations.

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