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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why safaricom will always be ahead

Safaricom, is it the best mobile provider in Kenya?

There is no doubt in mind that safaricom Kenya will remain the most unchallenged company in Kenya in mobile telecommunication, mobile money (Mpesa), Data services and any other related product I may not have mentioned. Safaricom Kenya despite complaints from its customers and competitors (from customers because of unreasonable tariffs pricing and from competitors because of unfair games like safaricom subscribers paying more for crossing to the their networks) have been on the lead and may keep the lead in this industry for a considerable amount of time if measures are not put in place to control safaricom menace by competitors in this industry.

Safaricom think tank seems to be aggressive and listening. There many new products have been carefully thought about because they touch the basic needs of every mobile phone user from simplified product application like sambaza (this is a feature that lets subscribers top up other number with ease. It is different from others offered by safaricom competitors. I will draw comparison later in the chapter) to other economy related features. Safaricom also seems to be the first to introduce a product before the rest could follow.

Despite the fact that safaricom controls 70% of the market share in telecommunication industry, safaricom has kept the pace as leaders in this fast growing industry by heavily investing in research that has seen it introduce newer products that will positively affect the economy of Kenya for many years to come. This is so because safaricom innovations seem to be directed at products that before were beyond the reach of many Kenyans and access to these services will bring a revolution in both the banking community and the mobile telecommunication community in Kenya. A revolution because if a common mwananchi who is not employed can have access to a credit card which in the past was only a dream because of pride and lack of innovative mind in the banking sector then that’s a revolution. This revolution is the purchasing power in the hands of just everybody with a mobile phone and a national Identity card.

The following are products I consider the best ever.

1. Top up other number
The ability to top other number with ease, makes operating your mobile phone easier. This is made easy just by dialing *140*amount*phone number# and the specified amount is debited from your credit balance and credited to the phone number you are toping up instead of your Mpesa account which requires a PIN to access. Unlike other networks where accessing this feature requires the user to access the mobile money account instead of the credit balance the safaricom top up other number is simplified.

2. Send money from your MPESA account directly to numbers stored on your phonebook
For along time since the invention of Mobile money transfer, mobile phone users in Kenya had rough time memorizing numbers in their phonebook before sending money but recently safaricom announced the introduction of a new Subscriber Identification Module (SIM card) which was enriched with new features that before required a complicated process to complete among them the ability to search SIM contacts directly from the MPESA menu function. Although this new SIM card had a bug that led to some cases where the new functionality to search SIM contacts directly never worked in some phones, the idea to include it was clever thinking.

3. Send a voice SMS
This function works just like the usual SMS but instead of starving your fingers by trying to locate letters on your phone’s keypad you just need to speak and the message is delivered to the recipient number just like a normal SMS. With safaricom+ (the new name for safaricom menu) you won’t need to memorize your recipient numbers just go to search SIM contacts and you are almost through.

4. Pay bill
This function allows you to pay your bills directly from your MPESA account.
a) To pay your electricity bill:
Go to MPESA menu then pay bill.
In the enter business no. enter 888888 and press OK
In the enter account no. enter your account no e.g. 1000983-01 (the account no. can be found in your electricity bill) and complete the transaction by entering your MPESA pin then confirm to send.

b) To load your VISA card
* Select ‘Pay Bill’ from your M-PESA menu
* Enter the ‘Business Number’ 541 541 (indicated on the back of the card)
* Under ‘Account Number’ enter the 16 digit number of the M-PESA VISA Pre Pay Safari card
* Enter the amount you wish to pay (between KShs. 100 – 35,000)
* Enter your M-PESA PIN.
* Confirm that all the details are correct and press OK
* Your will receive a confirmation SMS from M-PESA immediately. Your M-PESA VISA Pre Pay Safari card will be updated real time.

Note: there are individuals going round sending people messages that resemble the one that MPESA sends to your mobile phone after Any MPESA transaction. To authenticate such messages always check the sender address first it should be MPESA and not any other number. You should also note that any other money is sent to you is deducted from the senders account and sent to you by MPESA and vice versa. You should also check the balance section of the message, the amount sent to you plus your previous MPESA balance must match when added. If you had a balance of kshs100 in your MPESA account and you receive kshs300 from someone then the balance should be kshs400 and not kshs450.
Remember: the most important fields in the message are:
a) sender
b) balance

Question: Is safaricom Kenya in order to send threatening messages to its subscribers that unless the subscriber is registered with Mpesa their lines will be disconnected?
Last year we queued for long hours to beat CCK requirement that all mobile phone subscribers register their lines before June 30th of 2010 or face disconnection.

Mpesa is not why we use safaricom lines, the main purpose towards obtaining a mobile phone is for purposes of communication and not sending and receiving money.

Sending and receiving money is another thing and we want our right of expression and choice be respected by safaricom. Safari .com | Safaricom .com | Safaricom.co.ke |