A major East African telecom is preparing to implement biometric registration for customers who want to swap SIM cards into new devices.
Announcing the plans to media, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore explained that the idea is to curb fraud. One such criminal incident recently led to the arrest of 22 individuals, including Safaricom staffers, according to a Business Daily report.
The move could have an important impact on mobile fraud in Kenya, with Safaricom being a leading telecom in the country, and one of the top providers of mobile money transfer services in all of Africa.
Telecoms in multiple other states have implemented biometric SIM registration in recent years, though it has generally been at the behest of government authorities and regulators seeking to fight crime. Safaricom has so far made no mention of state pressure to implement its own biometric registration system, but rather seems to be pursuing out of its own interest in reducing fraud.
Safaricom has not set a timeline for its biometric registration project, but Kenyans.co.ke reports that the company’s Director of Corporate Affairs has confirmed that Safaricom is “in the final stages of developing the framework to be used” for the program.