It is now illegal to import a mobile phone that does not offer a battery life of at least eight hours talk time or lacks a physical manual in new guidelines aimed at curbing fake gadgets.
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) said in the latest Kenya Gazette notice the mobile phone import rules published earlier took effect on May 15.
The guidelines state that only licensed telecommunications vendors will be authorised to import and distribute mobile phones whose batteries are expected to last a minimum of 24 hours when the gadget is not in use.
The vendors will also provide at least a one-year warranty and after-sales support of a further two years for each device sold.
The government has been battling counterfeits coming into the country through grey markets and illegal channels, costing consumers and the government millions annually.
A report of by the Anti-Counterfeit Agency indicated that fake goods valued at Sh1.2 billion have been seized in the country in the last seven years.
“Test reports submitted in the Type Approval process as evidence of conformance to these guidelines shall be from a test laboratory accredited under the International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (ILAC),” said the CA in the new guidelines.
The devices are also required to have the manufacturer’s brand or identification mark and model or type shall be printed on the mobile device in indelible ink, readily visible and legible.
The samples must first be sent to the CA for approval.
“Each mobile cellular device shall have a unique International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) assigned by GSMA. The IMEI shall be printed on the device, legible and indelible.
“In addition, the IMEI shall be retrievable electronically by dialling *#06#,” reads the guidelines.
Two years ago the authority weeded out fake devices in a nationwide switch-off indicating that the phones had not been approved by the regulator.
This may pose a health risk to users with unstable material used in making the devices leading to explosion or exposure to radiation.
All mobile phones must comply with radiation safety standards. The devices must also offer 24 hours of standby time.
These regulations are to apply to smart and feature phones.