The communications sector regulator has claimed that complaints by Rwanda over usage of unregistered phones by Kenyan fraudsters was behind the planned installation of a call and text monitoring system that telecom operators have branded a spying tool.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) says in court papers that Rwanda complained it was losing revenue from international calls originated by Kenyan fraudsters, which prompted it to plan for installation of the controversial device management system (DMS).


CA director- general Francis Wangusi says in the court filings that Rwanda has made several complaints to Kenya regarding fraudsters who use devices called SIM boxes to disguise overseas calls as local ones, hence costing telcos revenue.

SIM box technology is used to illegally route international calls to appear as local ones, a move that undercuts telcos which charge separately for local and international dials.

Mr Wangusi claims that the DMS will be able to curb the SIM box menace.

The planned installation of the DMS, however, caused wide uproar as it was seen as an invasion of phone users’ privacy, with even the telecom operators openly opposing the CA’s plans.


But the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) holds that narrowing the ground on fraudsters is just an excuse, adding that the DMS will grant the CA unfettered access to confidential phone data in violation of privacy laws…