Handset owners in Tanzania impacted by action to curb the use of counterfeit devices have called for government intervention in the disposal of the fake phones.
According to Tanzania Daily News, the telecoms regulator disconnected counterfeit devices in the middle of last month. But owners are now questioning what happens to fake handsets when handed in for recycling, with speculation that they are “being refurbished to benefit the telecom companies”.
Some operators are offering deals for customers who hand-over counterfeit phones. Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority said that it had agreed with telecoms firms to set up collection points, and that recycling options were being discussed.
Reports last month said that more than 600,000 phones had been cut off as part of the government’s actions against fake devices, with some suggestions that this will increase to around 1 million.
At the time, some buyers said they were unaware they had bought fakes, and that users were being punished by the failure of the government to control the market upstream.
Jail terms and fines are possible for traders attempting to change device IMEI numbers.
Huawei and Vodacom deal
Separately, it was reported that Huawei had partnered with Vodacom Tanzania to offer subsidised smartphones with airtime packages, targeting “middle to low income earners, students and young professionals”.
It was noted that the fake phone switch-off had left some users without handsets, and the deal will provide them with a way to get hold of data-capable devices in a more affordable way.
The device offered – Huawei Kishkwambi – includes 3G connectivity, has a 4-inch screen, 2MP rear and 0.3MP front cameras, 1.3GHz dualcore processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of onboard storage (with expansion slot).