20 June 2016Trademarks

Tanzania shuts down phone networks in anti-counterfeiting drive

Tanzania’s telecommunications regulator has reportedly disconnected more than half a million mobile phones from their networks in an attempt to clamp down on counterfeit devices that are being used to facilitate crime.

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) said 600,000 phones had been disconnected.

The phones were being used to carry out fraudulent transactions on mobile payment systems online, as well as other crimes.

According to Reuters, counterfeit phones are prevalent in many African nations and are reportedly used by criminals because they are more difficult to track.

Innocent Mungy, communications manager at the TCRA, said that all devices with invalid International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers were disconnected on Thursday.

IMEI numbers are most commonly used to deny network access when phones have been reported as stolen.

Rosalynn Mworia, head of communications at African mobile phone network Vodacom, said the company would suffer financially from the shutdown but that it was too early to quantify the losses.

This story was first published on  Trademarks & Brands Online.

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