Safaricom is bracing itself for an upcoming ruling by the competition watchdog, which could force it to open up its M-Pesa agency network to interconnect with rival m-money services.
M-Pesa’s popularity, which has won it 18.1 million customers since its launch in 2007, has largely been attributed to its vast network of agents across the country that makes it easy for users to deposit and withdraw cash from mobile phones.
The roll-out of super-fast mobile networks will aggressively drive the uptake of mobile money services, as research by MEF, the global community for mobile content and commerce, shows a quarter of users say they do not make mobile payments because "the network is too slow".
The study says the lack of faster networks in many countries, especially emerging markets, could "help explain why fewer than one in seven mobile media users have made some form of mobile payment".
ICT secretary Fred Matiang’i has vowed to tie the renewal of Safaricom’s licence to the voice quality checks that show the mobile phone operator is non-compliant.
Dr Matiang’i said the government and the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) will not negotiate on the voice quality standards. The communication regulator found that all the four mobile phone operators, including Safaricom, Airtel, Orange and Yu had failed to meet minimum quality of service standards in the year to June.
Safaricom has announced that it is pulling out of joint national 4G network and is now demanding its own frequency, adding that it had completed laying fibre optic cable in Nairobi, allowing the operator to upgrade its 2G and 3G sites to LTE networks (4G).
Safaricom reckons that the State is taking long to secure shareholder agreements as it gears up to meet growing demand for fast connections by users of tablet computers and smartphones and boost its network quality.
Safaricom is headed for a clash with the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) over quality checks that will determine the renewal of its licence next year. The mobile telecoms firm reckons that the regulator’s quality checks — which have labelled Safaricom non-compliant — are erroneous and that an independent assessment has given it a clean bill of health.
Google has launched a tool that will help companies search for information stored in their computers for a fee as the tech giant seeks to diversify its revenues away from advertising.
The Google Search Appliance (GSA) is a mounted device, providing document indexing service that enables firms retrieve information stored in different locations such as desktops, intranets or archive servers.
Telkom Kenya’s financial woes look set to deepen after the expiry of a contract to exclusively manage and control the State-owned fibre-optic network, which earned the firm Sh250 million annually in fees.
The three-year contract ended in June and the Treasury will begin the search for a firm that will manage the inland nationwide network known by the acronym NOFBI or National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure.
Telkom is asking for Sh13.9 billion from its owners — France Telecom and the government — to fund operations and pre-empt a deepening financial crisis.