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Showing posts from 2010

Sticky thoughts on Safaricom’s Direction with Bob Collymore

Two week old context

On the Saturday of December 4th 2010, I fought my way out of bed to make it on time for Mindspeak with Robert (Bob) William Collymore. Bob has been Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer from October 2010 and many Kenyans were curious to hear ‘anything’ from him at the increasingly popular event.  Mindspeak is an event organized monthly on Saturday mornings by Mr. Aly Khan Satchu  (Chief Executive Officer of Rich.co.ke). The venue for the event is  usually at the Nu Metro cinema, Westgate Mall in Nairobi’s Westlands area. The MindSpeak happened only two months after another insightful event I wrote about on ‘Reflections with Michael Joseph of Safaricom’ at the iHub Nairobi. A number of bloggers including James Murua , Tovuti Sanifu and UjenziBora have chronicled their observations at the MindSpeak event with Bob Collymore. A lot of the attendants were also tweeting the event live and their live feed was captured by afrinnovator using CoveritLive.com’s nifty tool. Mr. …

Emerging battle fronts for Safaricom, Orange, Yu and Airtel Kenya

Emerging battle fronts for Safaricom, Orange, Yu  and Airtel Kenya

It has been correctly observed that for the Kenyan Mobile Network Operator (MNO) the voice market is only a cash cow in a wide array of business ventures and revenue streams.  Last week I wrote about the epic battle between Safaricom and Airtel in the voice and Short Message Service (SMS) market. I shall call these engagements battles as they appear to be quite a number along a couple of frontiers that our MNOs will need to fight it out over time. This is all in the bigger, long term war among the operators for favor with Kenyan consumers.

In this post, I shall share some quick, simple thoughts on the various market frontiers
The mobile money frontier
Safaricom’s M-PESA service in Kenya has in the past two years become a globally acclaimed success. It has revolutionised lives in Kenya. The country has also become an attractive market for products building on innovations around mobile money. All the other three MNOs have d…

Airtel Kenya vs Safaricom - When the bulls fought

Misplaced Application of Old Wisdom
An old swahili saying goes like ''Wapingapo fahali wawili, ziumiazo ni nyasi'. It means 'When two bulls fight, it is the grass that suffers'. When applied to competition in Kenya’s mobile network operator industry, it would mean that where two heavy weight players battle it out, it is the consumers that suffer.

I do not intend to despise the wisdom of our long gone ancestors but once in a while I am convinced we need to test some of the old wisdom for relevance in our dynamic times. In the current age of information, globalization and civil liberties some of our old sayings might have acquired a 'diminished relevance' status. When two large companies fight it is most likely for the attention of the consumer and the swahili saying may not apply to the situation.

The initial battle front
In October 2010, Airtel took on the mobile network market by storm, drastically lowering calling rates to Kes 3 (USD .038) regarless of the ca…

Tribulations of the M-PESA Agent

M-PESA is the mobile money transfer platform introduced in Kenya by Safaricom - Kenya's arguably dominant mobile network operator. It is a fact that M-PESA has revolutionized lifestyles of Kenyans in the last three years. To-date there are about 20,000 M-PESA agents in Kenya according to statistics from Safaricom. It is the extensive network of M-PESA outlets that Michael Joseph - former CEO of Safaricom attributes to the phenomenal success of the M-PESA money transfer system (see my notes on ‘reflections with MJ’ in October 2010). Although the former CEO's assertion remains arguable, the significance of the agents and their outlets cannot be overstated in analyzing the money transfer system's success.

Recently I engaged a couple of M-PESA agents in some discourse to try and understand their contribution to the platform's success. Perhaps it is because of our age old tendency to complain over everything that I caught a few concerns that would qualify to be the 'Mis…

Time to Comply with EMR Systems Standards and Guidelines in Kenya

A week ago I wrote about the then imminent launch of the Standards and Guidelines for electronic medical record systems in Kenya. The document was signed by both the Director of Medical Services (Dr. Francis M. Kimani) and the Director of Public Health and Sanitation (Dr. Shahnaz Kassam Shari). Another week has passed and the document has since been officially launched. It was the Director of Medical Services who launched the document on 3rd November at the Kenyatta International Conference Center on behalf of the Government of Kenya.

It has been argued that the existence of two Ministries of Health in Kenya has not been worked well for the country. However, it should be reassuring to note that the document is a product of collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Medical Services and the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. National AIDS and STI Control Program (NASCOP) which is placed in the Public Health and Sanitation Ministry was a key contributor to the document’s develo…