Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has recently disconnected handsets on the ground that they were fakes. Before switching them off, the telecom regulator had offered customers time to switch to original phones by trading their counterfeit devices at their respective service providers.
Some people hesitated to dispose their fake devices with the companies in fear of being refurbished to benefit the service providers. They are demanding a clear statement from the authorities on where should these devices be disposed and what exactly will be done with them.
Some telecom companies started offering the affected people with free, genuine phones upon presenting their fake phones at their shops. Some residents hesitated to go for the offer in fearing their phones could have given the telecom companies a big deal that did not purchase them.
Sensing opportunity, Huawei has struck a deal with Vodacom Tanzania to offer cheap 3G handsets to the affected people. 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.
TCRA Head of Corporate Communications has said that the telecom regulator has instructed the telecom firms to set up collection points to make it easier for the customers to dispose of their fake devices.
He also warned of the dangers for the owners of the fake handsets in keeping them since such phones contain toxic devices that might be harmful for the environment.
He said that the authorities and other agencies, including environmental conservation agencies are working on how to dispose of the products once they are discarded. The TCRA official also suggested that the phones could be recycled to recover other metals that can be re-used in the production of electronic goods.