By Mitchel Ondili
Communications Authority of Kenya v Okiya Omtatah Okoiti & 8 others  eKLR
Under the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) standards, each mobile device bears a unique quality mark known as the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, which is issued by the Global System for Mobile Communications association (GSMA). The GSMA maintains a central database containing the IMEI numbers of manufactured devices.
The East African Communications Organization, of which Kenya is a member, implemented an Equipment Identification Register (EIR) to tackle counterfeit and illegal phones. The system allows networks to keep list of blacklisted lost or stolen phones and automatically connects to the GSMA IMEI database to share that list with other operators in order to block them on both local and international networks. This resulted in the switch off of 1.89 million illegal mobile handsets by September 2012.
The victory was short lived as this measure had a dual effect on those running counterfeit or illegal operations as regards mobile communication. First, they began to clone genuine IMEI numbers to slip through detection, secondly, they began to engage in SIM boxing which refers to bypassing the international mobile carrier legal route and evading license fees in the process.
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) proposed the introduction of the Device Management System (DMS), intending to curb the newer methods of introducing and using counterfeit and illegal mobile devices.
The DMS would:Continue reading