Some 1.2 million fake phones are expected to be disconnected, local media reports.  The BBC’s Sammy Awami in the main city Dar es Salaam says that some people have complained that they did not know they had bought fake phones.
But overall, the ban has been welcomed and many are wondering if it will also lead to a crackdown on other counterfeit goods, he says.
Counterfeit handsets lack authentic International Mobile Equipment Identity ( IMEI ) numbers that are crucial to identifying and tracking mobile phones, making it easier for criminals and militant Islamists to escape detection.
The Tanzania Communication and Regulatory Authority said the switch-off was also meant to protect users’ health.  The fear is that fake handsets, which are not subjected to safety tests, emit more radiation and contain harmful elements, such as lead.
The mobile phones have been switched off using a number called International Mobile Station Equipment Identity ( IMEI ). All mobile phones are assigned one.
Tanzania’s communication agency launched a new system in December called the Central Equipment Identification Register, which is a database of all IMEI numbers.
When paired with systems at the network providers, it is able to block all counterfeit phones.Follow @newslexpoint
Mobile phone users have since been urged by the government to check whether they have fake phones or genuine ones:
- Dialling *#06# to get the handset’s IMEI
- Sending a text with the IMEI number to 15090
- The text reply lists phone’s model name – if the correct name is not given, the phone is a fake.
“We will be very much benefit because everybody now will come and buy original phones,” said Zahoro Matelephone at Dar es Salaam’s biggest market Kariakoo.
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