August 12, 2012

‘Sum Sang’ instead of ‘SamSung'. Fake mobile phones glut Ugandan market

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Counterfeiters in Uganda are thriving thanks to the country's weak anti-counterfeit laws, reports The Independent.

quotemarksright.jpgUganda is reported to have the highest number of substandard and fake mobile phones in the region. Of the 48% of the population that have mobile phones, 30% are carrying fake phones and government nearly loses an estimated Shs 15 billion annually in tax revenue through fake mobile phone purchases.

While some people deliberately buy counterfeit phones because they are cheaper, other unsuspecting customers just fall victim to counterfeiting tricks. According to Moses Bbosa, a phone vendor on Wilson Street, many people fail to notice that phones labeled as ‘Sum Sang’ (instead of ‘Sam Sung’) Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Samsvng are fakes.

... As Uganda bides its time drafting a new Anti-Counterfeit Bill, mobile phone users in neighboring Kenya have have until September 30 to replace their counterfeit mobile phones with genuine ones. The government has stepped up the campaign to educate Kenyans on the risks associated with using counterfeit mobile phones and steps the consumers should take to establish if their mobile phones are genuine.

The measure is intended to ensure that all mobile phones are genuine to safeguard the health of consumers and to protect the interests of consumers from “unnecessary risks in this era of mobile banking.” According to industry statistics, 10% of all the active mobile devices in Kenya are counterfeits. Contravention of the new measure attracts a fine not exceeding KShs 300,000 ($3,600) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.

This has sparked a fear that the counterfeits phones being phased out in Kenya could flood the Ugandan market unless the government takes quick action.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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