Technical teams from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan are working on common laws and regulations on registration of SIM cards to improve security.
Communications Authority of Kenya director general Francis Wangusi said gaps exist in fighting cross-border crimes related to misuse of mobile infrastructure since the respective national laws are different.
He said they will consider use of similar identification documents in SIM registration and find a solution for countries that do not use of national IDs to register a line.
“It is possible that some of counterfeit phones and unregistered SIM cards may be finding their way here from neighbouring countries because of the lacuna in the (legal and regulatory) framework,” he said. “They use them to commit crimes and make tracking them difficult when they cross the border.”
Proposals from the two-day forum will be presented to the respective ICT ministers for possible adoption at the forthcoming summit of the heads of state in Nairobi later in the year.
In Kenya, mobile network operators and their agents found guilty of selling unregistered or pre-activated SIM cards risk a fine not exceeding Sh5 million and Sh500,000, respectively, or a jail term not exceeding one year or both.
Wangusi said the war against use of unregistered lines to commit crime will be won through collaboration with neighbouring countries in securing mobile networks against criminals.
“I say this because to date, criminal elements in our country procure unregistered SIM cards from neighbouring countries, and use them for criminal activities,” he said.
The discussions, he said, was timely, coming after Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda abolished roaming fees in January under the One Network Area deal reached October last year.