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KCB M-PESA loan disbursements cross KSh10B mark since inception

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KCB-42Savings and micro credit platform, KCB M-PESA has advanced KSh10.3 billion in loans to its customers since inception about two years ago, boosting access to credit in Kenya according to the bank’s latest announcement.

 

Launched in partnership between Safaricom and KCB, the mobile banking platform has also signed up 6.4 million account holders who have KSh286.1 million saved on the platform. The bank says every day, the platform advances between KSh25 million and KSh30 million in loans. The platform competes Safaricom and CBA’s M-Shwari, Inventure’s Tala and Branch among others.

 

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said that the huge success that KCB M-PESA has enjoyed highlights the value of strategic partnerships in delivering innovative solutions that are aligned to customer needs.

“Through this platform, we have been able to contribute towards driving the financial inclusion agenda. Of great significance has been its role in providing a backup plan for our customers to free them from the fear of unforeseen events,” Mr Collymore added.

KCB M-PESA was launched in March 2015. The platform allows registered customers to save up to KSh1 million, earning up to 6 per cent in interest. Accountholders can also access up to KSh1 million in instant loans, accessible on the M-PESA menu on the SIM toolkit under the updated Savings and Loans tab.

 

KCB M-PESA is now available directly on the M-PESA menu, and customers no longer need to dial *844# to access it. Customers registered on KCB M-PESA are required to  go to their M-PESA Menu > Loans & Savings > KCB M-PESA to see how much they can borrow and follow the prompts to secure the loan which will be sent to their KCB M-PESA accounts instantly. The loan amount is determined by the amount of savings that the customer has made, M-PESA balance, and their savings on both Safaricom and KCB platforms and usage of their suite of products. Customers also have the option of operating fixed deposit accounts – fixed savings account and target savings account – on KCB M-PESA.

 

On his part, KCB Group CEO, Joshua Oigara said that the new platform leverages technological innovation to deliver financial products and services.

“The ubiquitous mobile phone has changed the way financial services are consumed. It has made it cheaper and more convenient for accountholders to access their bank accounts,” Mr Oigara added.

 

 

 

Tigo Pesa Customers Pocket $2.6m in Ninth Quarterly Profit Share

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tigoghana
Tigo Tanzania has announced another quarterly payment of Tshs 5.6 billion (US$ 2,570,120) to Tigo Pesa users, the ninth time in a row that the telecom is distributing profit to its mobile financial services users.

Speaking at press conference in Dar es Salaam today, Tigo Head of Mobile Financial Services, Ruan Swanepoel said cumulatively the company has paid its mobile financial services users a total of Tshs 46.2 billion (US$ 21,203,490) in quarterly payments since the launch of the service in July 2014.

Swanepoel said that this year’s second quarterly profit share recorded a growth of 8%, attributing the surge to favorable interest rates on the trust funds placed with various commercial banks.

“This profit share is payable to individual customers, retail agents and other Tigo business partners who each receive payment based on the e-value they stored in their Tigo Pesa wallets,” Swanepoel explained.

“We are really excited to be announcing this increased profit share distribution for the ninth successive time. This underlines our commitment to provide financial access to our customers and the country at large through our Tigo Pesa services,” said Swanepoel.

He cited Tigo’s increased profitability, improved market condition and steady growth in the number of Tigo Pesa users as the major drivers to the significant increase in profit share especially from the merchant segment. Tigo Pesa currently has the largest network of over 50,000 merchants

As before, according to Swanepoel, the return to customers is calculated based on Tigo Pesa customers’ average daily balance stored in their mobile wallet adding that this profit share distribution scheme is in line with the Central Bank Circular issued in February 2014.

Tigo Tanzania became the first telecom company in the world in 2014 to share profit generated from its mobile money Trust Account in the form of a quarterly distribution to its customers.

MainOne’s MDXi to host and manage SAP applications after certification

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mainone logo_12 april 2013MainOne‘s subsidiary, MDXi is now an SAP-certified provider of Infrastructure Services for SAP® solutions after a recent certification confirming the firm’s ability to deliver high-quality cloud and infrastructure operations services for customers running SAP solutions.
The certification will enable MDXi to host and manage SAP applications utilizing the company’s enterprise cloud platforms, across its private, public and hybrid cloud solutions, via a consumption-based delivery model. As a SAP-certified provider of hosting services, MDXi will offer a cost-effective yet reliable delivery model for mission-critical applications for customers of SAP.
Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Funke Opeke stated “We are pleased to receive the SAP certification for Infrastructure Operations Services, as it validates our commitment to providing world-class data center and cloud solutions in Nigeria. With this certification from SAP, it is now possible for Nigerian enterprises and businesses to host SAP applications in-country on MDXi’s Cloud platform and optimize their accounting processes, data analytics and sales chain management. This will improve response times for SAP applications, ensure data security and assure more cost effective subscription charges”.SAP HANA® Cloud is an in-memory platform that runs analytics applications smarter, business processes faster and data infrastructures simpler! It is the foundation for all the data needs of a business, removing the burden of maintaining separated legacy systems and siloed data, so business can run simple in this new digital economy.
Managing Director of SAP West Africa, Kudzai Danha said “More than ever, SAP Africa is excited about the SAP HANA® certification of partners like MainOne. The current market demand for attractive business applications in the cloud presents great business opportunities and through SAP HANA®, customers can innovate and redesign business processes, capitalizing on the agility of this unique platform.”
The SAP certification process is rigorous and culminates with an onsite audit session to determine that the provider meets all the local and global requirements as stipulated by SAP to run its applications.

Kwese Free Sports TV promises viewers a free live EPL match every weekend

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Kwese Sports (98)
Ben Amadasun, CEO Kwese Free Sports

Econet Media today launched its free to air sports channel, Kwesé Free Sports TV promising to give viewers in Kenya one free live English Premier League match every Saturday and previews and reviews of every match played in the EPL, meaning DStv’s SuperSports’ viewership won’t be greatly affected.

Speaking to TechMoran, Shalamar Zandamela, the Head of Marketing, Kwese Free TV said, “For us like we said, we are free to air, so we get the free to air rights. Currently what we have are free to air rights so you get one game a week on Saturday at five and it is live and you get the preview show before and the review show after the games are over.”

Though the firm didn’t tell TechMoran when Kwese Free Sports viewers will have more live EPL matches, Zandamela confirms that much more content will be launched in the coming months.

Apart from the one EPL match every Saturday, Kwese has signed up rights to the National Basketball Association (NBA), Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC), Formula E Championship, AVIVA Premiership Rugby and most recently the National Football League (NFL) which will be broadcast to viewers in Kenya for free among others in its bid to see the country’s DTT and DTH viewers access premium content for free. Kwese Free Sport’s first task in Kenya is building an audience and not just any audience but a loyal one.

“Like our name, we want to be anywhere everywhere, it suits where we want to position ourselves as a brand,” said Monicah Ndungu, General Manager, Kwese Free Sports Kenya. “What we are looking at is to provide our audience with the best of the continent. It’s been very receptive actually, I think the market has been looking for something to give them a breath of fresh air as everybody who hears about Kwese Free says that’s different, that’s a welcome thing, we feel quite welcome.”

Monicah Ndung'u, GM Kwese Sports Kenya
Monicah Ndung’u, GM Kwese Sports Kenya

Kwese Free Sports TV is now looking at partnering with other broadcasters as well as working with its digital team to reach audiences at home and online. It is also investing of millions of dollars into rights acquisition and content creation.

“We can say it’s a lot. We can confirm that it is in millions of shillings that we have invested. It’s a significant investment and its a long-term investment and is across various pillars for the business,” Zandamela told TechMoran. ” We are investing hard costs in terms of infrastructure, and once you do that it’s a clear signal that you are here to stay. We will have physical presence here in Kenya through a studio we’ll be building here, we have an office building here and we’ll be employing an almost fully local team developing talent with the entire team so it’s in the best of the industry and we will also be commissioning local content and so it’s a significant investment and is one that we intend to see grow and get a return on that investment specifically.”

Apart from real sports, Kwesé Free Sports also runs sports related entertainment content including Xtreme Outdoor Africa (100% proudly Kenyan), Ball N’Africa (Kenyan production) Sports Stars Uncovered, The Secret Lives of Sport, Football Stars, Sports Confidential, The Fast Lane and Sporting Greats on the channel. It will also showcase the best in local productions giving Kenyans a platform to share their stories on platform.

Kwese Free Sports TV aims to monetise through advertising and sub licensing to other channels when the time is right. Econet Media is a sister brand to Liquid Telecom, Econet Wireless both subsidiaries of Zimbabwe’s Econet Group founded by Strive Masiyiwa.

CBA & MTN Uganda launch MoKash, a service for short term mobile loans & savings

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  • MTN Uganda in partnership with Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) yesterday launched ‘MoKash’ a short term micro savings and loans product on MTN Mobile Money to enable registered MTN Mobile Money users to conveniently borrow as much as sh1 million using their phones.
    The product is commercially called ‘MoKash’ and also allows MTN Mobile Money customers to save as little as 50sh money on their phones while earning interest of up to 5 percent. Just like Kenya’s Mshwari, which is also a product of CBA in partnership with Safaricom, MoKash allows MTN customers who have registered MTN Mobile Money to save and borrow using their phones. Customers can save while earning an interest or take out short term loans at a reasonable fee.

The customer does not have to visit any bank to fill out forms.

To activate a customer should dial *165*5# and enter their MTN Mobile Money PIN.

  • To use the service you have to be an MTN customer and active on MTN Mobile Money.
  • Dial *165*5# to get started.
  • You will be prompted to enter your MTN Mobile Money PIN to activate your MoKash account.
    • Activation of a MoKash account is free.
    • Any transactions between MoKash and Mobile Money are free. Ie Savings, Auto savings, Loans, Loan payment, Account balance check.

    Interest Rates – Savings.

    You can save a minimum of UGX 50 up to any amount depending on KYC level

    Amount Interest
    1 – 300,000 2%
    300,001 – 800,000 3%
    800,001 – 1,600,000 4%
    1. 1,600,000
    5%

     

    Interest Rates – Loans

    You can borrow between UGX 3,000 to UGX 1,000,000 depending on your loan limit at a fee of 9%.

Liquid Telecom Investing KSh54m on a 12.4km network to make Kisumu a ‘Smart City’

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Liquid Telecom is investing KSh54m into a state-of-the-art metro network in Kisumu in partnership with the County government that will increase Internet speeds in the lakeside city ten-fold,  making Kisumu City Kenya’s first “Smart City” in the next two years.

On completion, the 12.4km metro network will cover Kisumu Central Business District, Milimani, Kondele up to Kibos, Kicomi and Migosi Junction. It will be the first step towards transforming Kisumu in to a Smart City, as part of an initiative developed under the sponsorship of the Rockefeller Foundation in Italy last month.

Smart Cities integrate multiple ICT systems to manage a city’s assets, including county government information systems, schools, libraries, transport systems, hospitals, power plants, water supply networks and waste management. Some of the best known Smart City examples are Vienna, Toronto, Stockholm, Paris, New York, London, Tokyo, Berlin, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Barcelona and Dubai.

“We recognize that technology is a critical enabler that will help make our vision for Kisumu a reality,” said H.E. Jackton Ranguma, the Governor of Kisumu during the ‘Transforming Kisumu: Enabling Technologies for Smart Cities and Resilient Economies workshop at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, Italy in July 2016.

The new metro network from Liquid Telecom Kenya is expected to create an enabling environment towards this transformation to a Smart City, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.

According to the World Bank, for developing countries, a 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration leads to a 1.38 per cent in GDP.

As well as residential and business areas, the move will benefit colleges and polytechnics such as the University of Nairobi, Maseno University, the Catholic University of East Africa, Kenya Institute of Management and Kisumu Polytechnic, as well as hospitals such as Aga Khan, Milimani Hospital and Marie Stopes. It will also benefit Kisumu International Airport and hotels in the area.

 

Kenya’s Paralympics receives a 5Million boost

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This year’s Olympics has seen many companies step up their marketing and support for the players. Recently, LG announced their dedication of providing the latest technology to athletes smart training by creating extraordinary and differentiated technological experiences that reflect sport men and women vision of excellence and possibility.

Back at home, Safaricom pledged to support the Kenyan team that will represent the country at the Rio 2016 Paralympics with Sh5 million.

The team, which is expected to travel in the next two weeks, will also get an additional Sh900,000 worth of Safaricom airtime.

Speaking at a luncheon, Safaricom Director of Strategy and Innovation Joseph Ogutu expressed optimism in the team’s performance at the event.

“It is an honour to be able to support all our athletes, especially those who are differently abled, as they often do not get the recognition they deserve,” said Mr. Ogutu.

“We are here to tell them that we appreciate the hard work they put into sharpening their skills and representing Kenya on the global stage. We believe that they are going to achieve their aspirations in Rio and we want them to know that we support them all the way,” he added.

The 80-member team consists of 41 athletes including para-rower Itaken Timoi Kipelian and power lifter Gabriel Magu. The athletes have been residing at Milele Guest House while preparing for the games.

“It feels good to be recognised by one of the top corporate organisations in Kenya. Safaricom is the only sponsor backing the Paralympics team at the moment and I would like to thank them for their support,” said Agnes Oluoch, President – Kenya National Paralympics Committee.

“The team has been training hard and is in top form, now what we would like is for all Kenyans to be just as interested in the Paralympics as they are in the Olympics, because the team needs your support,” she added.

The Rio 2016 Paralympics have attracted over 4,350 athletes from more than 160 countries across the world, who will be competing in 528 medal events in 22 different sports.

 

 

 

Safaricom permitted to sell yuMobile masts

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The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has allowed Safaricom to offload the telecommunications masts it acquired from the yuMobile owners in 2015.

The East Africa Tower Limited, Safaricom subsidiary provides that they were given approval to dispose of 30 masts out of the 453 it acquired from Essar Limited to Kenya Towers Limited the owner of yuMobile.

“East Africa Tower Ltd is fully owned subsidiary of Safaricom Limited which was used as a special purpose vehicle to acquire 453 masts from Essar Limited in 2015. The current transaction that has received approval from CAK refers to the disposal of 30 masts to Kenya Tower Limited,” said Steve Chege, Safaricom director for corporate affairs.

In 2014, Essar agreed to sell yuMobile to local rivals Airtel and Safaricom for KSH10.5 billion ($120 million). Safaricom was to take over the infrastructure holdings of Yu Mobile as well as 130 employees from its technical division while Airtel took over the firm’s 2.7 Million subscribers and GSM licenses. The deal, which has the approval of the Kenyan Communication Authority, will see Safaricom assume yuMobile’s infrastructure while Airtel takers over its subscribers and GSM licences

In the same year, Eaton Towers acquired over 3,500 towers in six countries across Africa, where Bharti Airtel has presence, with Airtel having a 10-year lease contract. This was due to the growth of admiration of Tower firms to African market.

According to Business Daily, In June 2013 Telkom Kenya signed an agreement with Eaton Towers for the management of its passive network infrastructure. The fifteen-year tower management and leasing deal was focused on both the maintenance of existing sites by Eaton Towers and the building of new sites.

Under the agreement Telkom Kenya retained ownership of its existing portfolio of over 1,000 towers while Eaton Towers was tasked with investing in passive infrastructure upgrades and building new towers to provide Telkom Kenya with improved coverage and network quality.

 

Orange Digital Ventures invests in PayJoy to finance smartphones for the Next-Billion consumers

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orangeOrange Digital Ventures recently invested in PayJoy, a digital platform that allows people with limited or no access to credit to pay for a smartphone in regular installments serving 110 million customers in Africa and the Middle East.

 

This investment comes as part of PayJoy’s Series A-funding round alongside several VCs including Union Square Ventures (USV), Draper Nexus Ventures, Fenway Summer Ventures, Core Innovation Capital, among others.
PayJoy’s platform aims to reduce the financial barriers to acquiring a smartphone thereby opening up the smartphone market for over two-thirds of the world’s population who do not yet own one (over 5 billion people). Today, consumers with limited resources and little or no credit profiles, who represent a large and significant market of global consumers, do not have access to traditional phone leasing schemes.
PayJoy’s software platform provides a unique and disruptive way of making smartphone ownership more affordable for the Next-Billion consumers: the platform’s device-management software installed on smartphones transforms them into software-enabled collateral that allows third-party institutional lenders to finance the smartphone upfront and consumers to pay in monthly installments.
Pierre Louette, Orange’s CEO Delegate in charge of Orange Digital Ventures said: “Investing in PayJoy represents a logical extension of our investments in other frontier markets such as Jumia Group (formerly Africa Internet Group), Afrimarket and Afrostream. PayJoy illustrates our belief at Orange that disruptive ways of thinking can often provide surprisingly simple solutions for breaking down previously unsurmountable barriers”.
Doug Ricket Founder and CEO of PayJoy said: “We are delighted to partner with Orange Digital Ventures for the purpose of bringing mobile finance to underbanked consumers in emerging markets, and in particular we welcome Olawale Ayeni as a Board advisor to help PayJoy on the road ahead”.
PayJoy represents a novel and disruptive approach to providing credit to thin-file consumers, which according to McKinsey research represents a potential 2.3 trillion USD market, with an initial focus on the 400 billion USD, global smartphone opportunity. PayJoy’s software enables the emergence of a two-sided market place that brings together institutional third-party lenders and thin-file consumers. The company is currently located in California, USA.

 

GSMA’s Accelerator Innovation Fund to Invest over £2 million in startups from Africa & Asia

Ecosystem_Accelerator_Innovation_Fund_PRGSMA has launched the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund, which will support innovative start-ups from and operating in Africa and selected countries in Asia. The fund will invest £2 million to approximately 10 to 15 start-ups in January 2017.

 

The Fund is backed by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and supported by the GSMA and its members.

 

Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA said, “The launch of the Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund is an exciting opportunity for the mobile industry to work with entrepreneurs in developing markets to create services that will deliver important socio-economic benefits to their communities. I anticipate that we will see some incredible applications and I look forward to seeing the first selected start-up businesses flourish.”

 

The Fund will provide funding and mobile-focused mentoring and technical assistance to selected start-ups, and establish partnerships between operators and start-ups to increase the reach of innovative mobile services.

 

The Fund will run several rounds between 2016 and 2020, with each round having specific areas of focus. During the first funding round, which will disburse approximately £2 million, applicants must be aligned with one or both of the following focus areas in order to be eligible:

  • Sharing Economy – defined as any mobile-based platform, product or service which enables low-income citizens in emerging markets to generate income from ‘under-utilised assets’, such as free personal time or vehicle use, by sharing those assets with their peers.
  • Services for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) – defined as any mobile-based solution, product or service designed for micro and SMEs in emerging markets that unlock improved productivity and growth.

For the first round, applications will be assessed through a two-stage application process. In the “pitch stage”, applicants are required to complete an online questionnaire providing an overview of their product or service; the deadline for submitting pitches is the 18th September 2016.

A maximum of 30 pitches will be selected to advance to the proposal stage; an independent panel of experts will then appraise the proposals and make awards totaling £2 million to approximately 10 to 15 start-ups in January 2017.

Kenyan diaspora sends one million money transfers with WorldRemit

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Alix Murphy

Kenyans living abroad have now sent one million money transfers with WorldRemit, an international money transfer service based in UK, promising users safe, instant transfers at the touch of a button to Kenya and across the world.

 

WorldRemit allows users to send money to their loved one’s mobile wallets directly such as M-PESA, MTN Mobile Money, Airtel Money , EcoCash and Tigo Pesa.

 

 

Alix Murphy, Senior Mobile Analyst at WorldRemit, said: “Kenya is renowned for leading the world in Mobile Money and we’re now seeing Kenyans at the forefront of adoption of Mobile Money remittances. The vast majority of our Kenyan customers choose to receive remittances on their M-Pesa or Airtel Money accounts instead of collecting cash. It’s convenient, secure and means no more travelling to money transfer agents.

 

“With over 400 million registered accounts worldwide, Mobile Money is transforming lives by allowing people to access financial services for the first time. As it gains in popularity, Mobile Money will become the method of choice for receiving remittances in many countries across the world.”

 

WorldRemit has connections to 32 services in 24 countries and began offering remittances to Kenya in March 2011.

Mobile Money has played a key role in the popularity of WorldRemit money transfers to Kenya, as Kenyans discover the speed and convenience of sending remittances direct to mobile phones.

WorldRemit now sends more than 50,000 transfers to Kenya every month, with over 90% going to Mobile Money accounts such as M-Pesa and Airtel Money.

 

Customers can also send transfers direct to bank account, for cash pick up from KCB Bank Kenya and Upesi Money Transfer branches, or as mobile airtime top up.

 

Around three million Kenyans live abroad with large communities in countries such as the United Kingdom, United States and Canada.

The contribution of the diaspora – including remittances – is recognised as a critical component in the growth of the Kenyan economy and achieving Vision 2030[1]. Inward remittances reached a record value of $146.76m in May 2016, according to the Central Bank of Kenya, making it one of Kenya’s top earners.

 

 

Safaricom turns to renewable energy to reduce Green House Gas emissions

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SafaricomIn a move to reduce Green House Gas emissions, Safaricom has committed to promote the use of renewable energy to align to the historic climate change agreement stuck in Paris between 195 countries to avoid catastrophic climate change by limiting warming to 1.5C to 2C.

 

The telco has said this week, it will carry out Environmental management awareness and training across their various offices. The current scientific consensus is that global carbon emissions need to be reduced by 80% by 2050 to avoid catastrophic climate change.

 

‘This is not just a commitment on paper but one that we fully intend to follow through by implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions in our network and facilities,” said Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom.

According to its latest Sustainability report, Safaricom achieved its target of reducing the cost of energy consumption by 10% and decreased overall carbon footprint by 18%.

 

The report attributes the reduction to replacement and upgrade of aging Base Transmission Station infrastructure, implementation of various energy efficiency initiatives and more accurate data collection.

Safaricom also recently joined several other companies associated with the B team to announce their aspiration to aim for net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.  The B team is an initiative formed by a global group of business leaders led by Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson to catalyze a better way of doing business, for the wellbeing of people and the planet.

 

“As a global community, the longer we delay making the required sustainability commitments and changes, the bigger the potential losses we face and the more radically our lives will be altered in the near future. We are committed to practicing what we preach that is why we are aspiring to be a ‘Net-Zero by 2050’ company” added Mr. Collymore.

Safaricom becomes the first company in the region to commit to the ‘Net-Zero by 2050’ aspiration.

Gilat Satcom Launches ISP in Uganda, Continuing its Pan-African Expansion

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Gilat Telecom Uganda logo

Gilat Satcom has established an ISP in Uganda which is already providing fast, reliable and highly secure broadband services to more than 60 business clients, mainly around Kampala and Entebbe making it present in over 30 African countries with a growing range of fiber routes in coastal and landlocked Africa.

Dan Zajicek, CEO of Gilat Satcom, said “Ugandan businesses need fast and reliable connectivity to help them grow domestically and abroad.  We have invested heavily in our networks in Uganda so that our customers can benefit from the very substantial bandwidth and tailored communications services that we already provide across Africa. Customers will also appreciate our significant international communication infrastructure, experience and support.”

 

Gilat Satcom was one of the first companies in Africa to offer both non-stop East to West coast-to-coast and international connectivity. Its Pan-Africa satellite footprint allows its MPLS network to reach the most remote areas of the continent. Both its fiber and satellite networks connect to the WACS, EASSy and SEACOM undersea cables; Gilat Satcom is a shareholder in WIOCC which owns WACS.

 

Gilat Satcom has been operational in Africa for more than 15 years providing wholesale international connectivity to the continent’s communication service providers.  As part of its ongoing investment in Africa, Uganda is the third country in which Gilat Satcom has established a physical presence joining Nigeria and Ghana.

 

Gilat Telecom Uganda is a wholly owned subsidiary of Gilat Satcom, headquartered in Kampala. The company will be recruiting locally for a number of new positions. The new ISP will deliver cost-effective communication capacity along with a wealth of value-added technologies and services to business clients over its extensive fiber and satellite links.

 

In particular, customers in Uganda will benefit from a range of new and innovative security measures which Gilat Satcom introduced earlier in the year to prevent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks which make websites and servers unavailable to legitimate users and block both local and international links.

Typically, organizations in Africa have security solutions on their own networks to stop cyber-attacks, however, this approach requires a significant CAPEX and OPEX investment – and most importantly, will not secure their international connectivity.

 

Gilat Satcom has integrated the latest technology which mitigates and prevents a service outage during DDoS attacks so that its customers’ international broadband service is unaffected by an attack and service continuity is ensured.

Gilat Telecom also provides advanced traffic management that enables its customers to control capacity usage cost-effectively by defining priorities by service and user.

 

 

Ghana’s Promolante App Hits 200k+ Users, 85k Monthly Active Users

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The telco promos and services discovery app, Promolante which we covered here has hit 200,000 users with a Monthly Active Users (MAU) of over 85,000.

 

The Promolante app which was launched in March last year helps users discover new telco offers, easily access shortcodes and quickly activate internet bundles. It recently launched a smart feature that recommends telco offers based on insights from your calls and data usage.

 

“Promolante started as a side project – solving a problem for the promo loving telco subscriber. It’s been amazing building it to what it is now and watching millennials use it to save money on calls and internet data is so fulfilling” says Abdul-Rahim Sulemana, CEO and co-founder of Promolante.

 

“Over the next few months, we’ll be adding some cool new features and looking to expand into Nigeria and some other African countries. We believe it’s time to bring all that we’ve learnt into a better global Promolante – a telco app you can use wherever you’re in Africa” he added

 

Promolante started first as a web app, then an android app and is now looking to launch an iOS version soon. 

and bootstrapped till date has grown organically except for a partnership with Samsung which has seen the app pre-installed on Samsung smartphones.

 

Available on only Android, the app was accepted in February 2016 into FBStart, Facebook’s flagship program to aid mobile startups

 

Safaricom cuts roaming charges for calls & data by up to 99 per cent

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SafaricomRoaming can be costly especially if one is using both voice and data but in a move to reduce such costs incured by its customers, Safaricom has reduced its data and calls roaming charges by up to 99 per cent following successful negotiations with its global network of partners.

 

The firm this morning announced it has reduced roaming charges for calls and data by up to 99 per cent for over 200 networks across the world allowing customers to enjoy reduced data roaming rates at the rate of Sh14 per MB in over 52 countries, as well as make calls at reduced rates.

 

“Our new roaming rates progress our deliberate strategy to continuously invest in optimizing our customers’ experience in order to provide the best experience on our network,” said Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom.

 

The firm says those traveling to China and roaming on China Mobile will now be charged Sh50 to call back home and enjoy a low of Sh10 per minute to call within China, down from the former rate of Sh360 and Sh130 respectively.

 

Data pricing will fall to Sh14 per MB while roaming on China Mobile and China Unicom, down from the previous rate of Sh1, 900.

The new rates will be applicable to both PrePay and PostPay subscribers with customers able to select their network of choice in the destinations that they travel to based on the rates on offer.

 

“Our continued push to provide more value to customers is underpinned by our continued desire to empower customers so that we retain a relationship based on trust with them,” said Mr. Collymore.

 

Subscribers can check applicable rates for country they wish to travel and the preferred roaming network by visiting www.safaricom.co.ke.

Customers will also be able to compare roaming costs on different networks so as to decide which one to roam on.

 

New Roaming Rates:

COUNTRY RATE
Tanzania, China, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, South Africa, Ghana, Netherlands, DRC, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Mozambique, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Swaziland, Thailand  

Sh14

 

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Verizon to acquire struggling Yahoo! for $4.83 billion in cash

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Verizon is set to acquire Yahoo’s operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments giving it access to Yahoo’s 1 billion monthly active users including 600 million monthly active mobile users through its search, communications and digital content products.

 

Yahoo will be integrated with AOL under Marni Walden, EVP and President of the Product Innovation and New Businesses organization at Verizon.

 

According to Lowell McAdam, Verizon Chairman and CEO: “Just over a year ago we acquired AOL to enhance our strategy of providing a cross-screen connection for consumers, creators and advertisers. The acquisition of Yahoo will put Verizon in a highly competitive position as a top global mobile media company, and help accelerate our revenue stream in digital advertising.”

 

Marissa Mayer, who has been CEO of Yahoo for four years and failed to turn around the company’s fortune says the sale of its operating business, which effectively separates its Asian asset equity stakes, is an important step in Yahoo’s plan to unlock shareholder value for Yahoo.

 

“This transaction also sets up a great opportunity for Yahoo to build further distribution and accelerate our work in mobile, video, native advertising and social,” Mayer added, “Yahoo and AOL popularized the Internet, email, search and real-time media. It’s poetic to be joining forces with AOL and Verizon as we enter our next chapter focused on achieving scale on mobile. We have a terrific, loyal, experienced and quality team, and I couldn’t be prouder of our achievements to date, including building our new lines of business to $1.6 billion in GAAP revenue in 2015. I’m excited to extend our momentum through this transaction.”

Yahoo will join AOL’s The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, MAKERS and AOL.com, and market-leading programmatic platforms — including ONE by AOL for both advertisers and publishers.

The addition of Yahoo to Verizon and AOL will create one of the largest portfolios of owned and partnered global brands with extensive distribution capabilities. Combined, AOL and Yahoo will have more than 25 brands in its portfolio for continued investment and growth.

 

Yahoo’s key assets include market-leading premium content brands in major categories including finance, news and sports, as well as one of the most popular email services globally with approximately 225 million monthly active users. Additional technology assets in the advertising space include Brightroll, a programmatic demand-side platform; Flurry, an independent mobile apps analytics service; and Gemini, a native and search advertising solution.

 

The sale does not include Yahoo’s cash, its shares in Alibaba Group Holdings, its shares in Yahoo Japan, Yahoo’s convertible notes, certain minority investments, and Yahoo’s non-core patents (called the Excalibur portfolio).

 

The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, approval by Yahoo’s shareholders, and regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in Q1 of 2017. Until the closing, Yahoo will continue to operate independently, offering and improving its own products and services for users, advertisers, developers and partners.

Airtel Kenya’s magical marketing team leaves as firm struggles to gain market share

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DSC_4909Airtel Kenya’s has had a rough year as the last of its communications executive, Jesse Kisenya leaves the firm for greener pastures in a non-tech FMCG firm following Charles Wanjohi who was the firm’s Marketing Director, product managers Marion Wanyoike, Stephen Maina, Digital Manager Muthoni Maingi and Corporate Affairs director Dick Omondi.
Jesse is the second last of the magical team that brought together campaigns like Airtel Rising Stars, Airtel Hadithi, UnlimiNET among others. He’s worked with some of the leading PR practitioners in the company who include the Corporate Affairs director Dick Omondi and Airtel Africa’s Vice President – Corporate Communications & CSR Michael Okwiri since he joined the firm in June 2012 as a Corporate Communication Assistant.
Though Jesse isn’t going to Safaricom like most of his colleagues above or starting his own firm like his immediate former boss Omondi, hi s leaving the firm signifies an end to the firm’s creative marketing campaigns that put competitor Safaricom on its knees forcing it to poach Airtel’s marketing team one by one. With Jesse set to leave the firm at the end of the month, Airtel executives will have an assignment to build an entirely new communications department from scratch but chances are, it will take a while for the team to build a culture and redefine Airtel to the youth again.
It will be even harder for the firm to crack the market as it moves its communications functions away from the marketing department to the Legal and Regulatory Affairs department which will slow down execution of Public Relations strategies and drag Airtel’s brand equity  management due to bureaucracy.

Zuku appoints new CFO & Sales Lead as the pay TV & broadband market toughens

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Michael Dabaly
Michael Dabaly
Michael Dabaly

Wananchi Group’s home entertainment brand Zuku has been losing customers every month to players such as Liquid Telecom’s Hai, Able Wireless, Jamii Telcom, StarTimes, GOtv among others. In a move to improve productivity and efficiency of service delivery, the firm today announced the appointment of Genue Mwaura as the Chief Finance Officer and Michael Dabaly as the Sales, Marketing and Corporate Communications Director – Cable Division.

 

The firm has appointed Genue Mwaura as the Chief Finance Officer and Michael Dabaly as the Sales, Marketing and Corporate Communications Director – Cable Division.

Mwaura is the former Head of Finance Operations and Investor Relations at Safaricom. Mwaura worked in Vodacom Group South Africa and Vodafone group in the UK. He brings a wealth of experience gained while working locally and internationally in various roles in Finance and Strategy including, Governance, Treasury, Business turnaround, Business planning, Financial Control and Management at Vodafone, Vodacom, Coca Cola Africa and East African Breweries.

Genue Mwaura
Genue Mwaura

“These management changes have been necessitated by the desire to keep up with the technological advancements, process enhancements, changing customer demands and new market trends,” Wananchi Group Chief Executive Officer Santiago Benedit said.

The changes also target to improve efficiency and offer better services to customers and ensure return on investment to the shareholders.

Speaking at the firm’s headquarters at Gateway Business Park along Mombasa Road, Benedit said that making the changes were necessary to meet the overall goals, purpose and mission of the organization in line with its strategic plans.

“I would like to congratulate those who have been assigned new roles and hope they will find their positions both challenging and rewarding,” Benedit said.

Benedict Santiago, the current ZUKU CEO was appointed last year following the end of the contract term of Richard Alden. Benedit joined the group from Vimpelcom Group-owned Orascom Telecom Algeria (DJEZZY), where he was chief financial officer. Initially, he was CFO for Avanzit/ Ezentis Group, a global technology and infrastructure company with presence in more than 20 countries.

Essentially, for a company to grow it requires a good management system. This makes it easy for it to come up with effective policies and structures that can enhance a company’s delivery process.

 

 

 

ABSA launches a ChatBanking for Facebook Messenger

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ABSA, a renown financial service company has unveiled ChatBanking for Facebook Messenger’, a world-first banking technology, which allows you to conduct your banking without ever having to leave your favourite social media platform.

Hours before the official launch, the Group Chief Information Officer and Chief Digital Officer at Barclays Africa said,” our customers already use Facebook for their daily dose of global news, to share photos with friends and family and even solve their business issues. To deliver a cool banking experience, we are bringing banking to where our customers spend their time. The service, a world first from Absa, allows customers to do their “liking” and banking in the same space.”

Activation

Customers will be able to activate the Absa’s ChatBanking by logging on to the Absa website, clicking on settings, selecting ‘Manage ChatBanking’ and adding a profile amid the prompts.

As part of the service, Absa customers will then be able to use Facebook Messenger to view balances on their transactional accounts, buy airtime or prepaid electricity, get mini-statements or make payments to existing beneficiaries who they have paid before.

The launch of the Facebook service follows the bank’s launch of its ChatBanking offering on social network Twitter earlier this year.

“Our customers already use Facebook for their daily dose of global news, to share photos with friends and family and even solve their business issues,” said Ashley Veasey, group chief information officer and chief digital officer at Barclays Africa.

“The service, a world first from Absa, allows customers to do their ‘liking’ and banking in the same space,” said Veasey.

Protection

The financial company placed an agreement to protect customers’ data via the Facebook ChatBanking channel and that account numbers and personal details will never be displayed in a chat.

“This means that even in the event of your cellphone being stolen or someone gaining access to your Facebook account, they would not be able to abuse the information,” said Veasey.

 

 

 

Tigo to roll-out free internet access to Tanzania’s secondary schools

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(From Left: Tanzanian Socialite Abby Platjes and Musician Vanessa Mdee getting schooled on how 4G LTE technology works by Tigo representatives)
(From Left: Tanzanian Socialite Abby Platjes and Musician Vanessa Mdee getting schooled on how 4G LTE technology works by Tigo representatives)

Tigo Tanzania recently entered into a partnership with the Ministry of Communications, Works and Infrastructure to facilitate the roll-out of internet access points in the country’s secondary schools so as to complement the e-Schools Project for a period of 2 years.
According to Tigo Chief Commercial Officer, Shavkat Berdiev, “We are grateful to the government for accepting to partner with Tigo in this very important initiative aiming at supporting the government vision of ensuring that all mankind benefit from the access and use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in various discipline to improve their social and economic situations”.

Tigo will sponsor the infrastructural development in schools across the country that will include wiring classrooms and installation of wireless LAN with internet access points while the ministry will identify and provide a list of schools without computer labs to be connected and also guide the implementation of the project.

Tigo says the deal will help it enable the youth and the wider communities to tap into the global mainstream of information and knowledge, where they will learn, expand their creativity and collaborate with peers across the world.
“Tigo will continue to work with the government on other innovative and exciting projects to uplift the lives of many Tanzanians”, Berdiev added.
Tigo’s e-Schools’ Project is one of the company’s strategic social investment projects and to date Tigo has been able to connect 31 public secondary schools in Tanzania with internet with an envisaged plan to connect 50 more this year.
The e-school’s project is among various projects that Tigo has undertaken to support community initiatives through the telecom’s corporate social responsibility portfolio. They include donation of over 2,700 desks to needy primary schools in a sustainable venture that is meant to alleviate the serious shortage of desks in the country’s schools.
Last year, Tigo partnered with Dar Teknohama Business Incubator (DTBi), a local NGO to offer scholarships worth over Tsh: 300m/- (about $ 136,363 ) to cover tuition fees, research fees, meals and accommodation for a period of four years to nine students undertaking ICT courses in local universities.

Tanzania aims to use such partnerships to impart modern ICT skills and knowledge to the youth, to enable them to face the challenges of the ever-changing information trends in the society and global economy.

Tanzania’s Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Communications, Works and Infrastructure Prof. Faustine Kamuzora said,”This technology will enable the students and teachers of the beneficiary schools and the wider communities to tap into the global mainstream of information and knowledge where they will learn, expand their creativity, collaborate with peers across the African continent and across the world, and generally  participate in defining the future of their world.”