Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) launches a SIMU KLEAR campaign against Illegitimate smartphones and mobile Devices

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has today officially launched a Anti-Illegitimate Mobile Communication devices campaign in Uganda. The campsins seeks to attract public attention towards the presence of fake mobile devices on the market, discrourage the purchase and use of these devices.

Under Section 5(k) of the Uganda Communications Act 2013, UCC is mandated to promote and safeguard the interests of consumers and operators regarding the quality of communications services and equipment.  

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Section 5 (1) of the Act also tasks UCC to set national standards, ensure compliance with standards and obligations laid down by international communications agreements and treaties to which it is a party. These include Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC), Radio Frequency (RF) requirements, equipment safety and health requirements technology, performance and functionality requirements.

Today, through the SIMU KLEAR campaign, UCC has joined the rest of the world to fight against the use of substandard mobile communication devices. These include Fake Smartphones that are branded as copy, and hicopy grades on the market, as well as substardand feature phones that often use popular brand idenfications such as Nokia.

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UCC Officials
UCC Officials at the SIMU Klear campaign launch

Since February 2020, the Commission has successfully implemented a concerted stakeholder engagement process entailing engagements with public sector, sister agencies, regulators, policy makers, industry actors and the media. Now, the 2nd phase of the SIMU KLEAR campaign has introduced the 197 hotline dedicated to public sensitization.

In most cases, when a customer uses an Illegitimate device, it lowers the quality of service on intermediate communication devices which, in most cases, lowers the quality of service on public communication networks thus affecting the experience of other consumers and businesses on the same medium.

When you buy any device, you want it to deliver the performance, functionality and safety expected of devices in that family. This is the purpose of standards according to UCC. Illegitimate or Counterfeit devices compromise on those standards in favour of returns, impacting value proposition and safety.

Every legitimate mobile phone has a unique identifier that registers it to a carrier network. This number is called the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. The IMEI number can be used to verify the legitimacy of the mobile phone.

To confirm if your phone is legitimate, dial *197*4# or *#06#, and the device IMEI code will automatically display on your phone’s screen. Alternatively, the IMEI number can be found on the body of the mobile phone, usually under the battery.

Currently, it is estimated that over 180 million counterfeit mobile phones are sold globally per annum and this represents a potential loss of €45bn to legitimate device manufacturers.

The new UCC Campaign will run for a period of over 6 months to build public awareness about the dangers of using fake and illegitimate mobile communication devices in Uganda.

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