The Authority, yesterday 6 January 2016, carried out a raid on an illegal facility that was illegally terminating international calls in Nairobi. This follows a similar raid carried out on 30 November 2015 at the 680 Hotel.

The landlord of a property in in Lavington along Amboseli Drive reported suspicious activity to the Police after trying to know what kind of business the tenants were involved in.

Communications Authority officers and Police officers raided the site and uncovered an illegal facility that was terminating international calls using SIM Box devices. The officers recovered four (4) SIMBOX equipment with a combined capacity to hold 144 SIM cards that can simultaneously make calls. Also recovered, were a total of 5,827 SIM cards from the local mobile service providers. In particular, the officers found 3,017 SIM cards from Orange, 2,678 SIM cards from Airtel, 52 branded Yu SIM cards and 80 SIM cards from Safaricom. The police arrested one suspect for further questioning.

SIM-Boxing involves termination of international traffic using illegal routes. The perpetrators use SIMBox devices, which hold stacks of SIM cards on one side and is connected to the Internet on the other side. Instead of international calls coming in through the traditional international gateways, these operators receive the calls through the internet and then using the SIMBOX, re-originate the calls through the stacks of SIM cards as if the calls are being originated by local customers.

 

“In this regard, we wish to call upon the relevant stakeholders like the security agencies, the landlords and the mobile operators to partner with the Authority in ensuring that such illegal communication services are completely eliminated,” said Mr. Ngene Gituku, CA Board Chairman while addressing a press conference.

This illegal termination of international calls has negative effects on the existing mobile networks. The SIM Cards, which are fixed in one location, are used for business and are therefore continuously making calls from the same base station. They therefore overload the base station and degrade the quality of service in the areas served by the base station. In addition, international calls attract higher termination rates by SIM Boxing, the illegal operators deny operators and in the end the government of revenues.

Read the full statement here.