About 630,000 counterfeit mobile phones have so far been disconnected in Tanzania, the telecom authority says.A government ban on using fake phones came into force at midnight, causing communication difficulties for those who owned them.
Tanzania joined Cameroon, South Africa and Nigeria in efforts to boost security and health measures by disconnecting the phones.
About 3% of mobile phones in Tanzania are fake, official figures show.
The country has about 33 million mobile phone subscribers, out of an estimated population of 49 million people.
Some 1.2 million fake phones are expected to be disconnected, local media reports.
How to spot a fake phone:
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.
Mobile phone users have since been urged by the government to check whether their phones were genuine or fake by:
- 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.