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Saturday M-Pesa upgrade outage to last four hours

Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore. file photo | nmg
Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore. file photo | nmg 

The M-Pesa upgrade scheduled for Saturday night will now cause a four-hour outage of the mobile money service and not 11 as the telecommunications firm had earlier announced.

The phased upgrade, which will see new M-Pesa features added and some functions automated, began on June 30.

It will also reduce the need for customers to make requests at its call centre.

It is the third major M-Pesa upgrade in the 10-year existence of the pioneering mobile money service.

The upgrade saw M-Pesa services interrupted for two hours on June 30 beginning 1am and again on July 5 at a similar time. The final upgrade this weekend was initially scheduled to take place starting Saturday 10pm and last until Sunday 9am, during when services M-Shwari and KCB M-Pesa were to be unavailable.

“Contrary to the earlier announced outage period, M-Pesa services will only be unavailable for four hours starting Sunday, July 16, from 12am to 4am,” Safaricom #ticker:SCOM chief executive Bob Collymore said in a notice to customers.

“We expect all services to be restored and M-Pesa to be fully functional following the process. We thank our customers for their continued support during this update.”

Safaricom said the tests it has been conducting since the upgrade started have seen them optimise several processes, significantly reducing the anticipated downtime.

This system upgrade will reduce the time that new partners take to be integrated onto the M-Pesa system from weeks to a few hours and also see M-Shwari and KCB M-Pesa integrated into the Safaricom app. Safaricom’s revenue from M-Pesa stood at Sh55.1 billion in the year to March, a 32.7 per cent year-on-year growth which the telco is keen on growing.

The telecom firm recorded Sh1.84 trillion in deposits in the year to March compared to Sh1.6 trillion in withdrawals.

“Since (launching M-Pesa), we have experienced tremendous growth as the platform has grown to provide even more value to the ecosystem,” Mr Collymore, said when announcing the upgrade.

“This upgrade paves the way for the next phase of M-Pesa and will enable the service deliver even more value for our customers and partners.”

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