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Safaricom says migration of M-Pesa successful

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore. M-Pesa service has about 19 million customers with 81,000 agent outlets. PHOTO | FILE
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore. M-Pesa service has about 19 million customers with 81,000 agent outlets. PHOTO | FILE  

Safaricom has promised its customers uninterrupted mobile money transfer services following its successful transfer of M-Pesa servers to Kenya and completion of test-runs on Sunday.

The company said that they expect minimal service outages with M-Pesa now being hosted locally. It was previously hosted in Germany and was prone to interruptions whenever undersea fibre optic cables relaying information got damaged.

Following the migration, Safaricom temporarily shut down all M-Pesa transactions from 11 pm on Saturday for testing before switching it back on Sunday at 11.30 am – half an hour earlier than the telco had scheduled.

“We have successfully brought M-Pesa home in what has been the largest and most complex migration operation of its kind in Africa,” Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said in a statement.

“Our new platform will help us unlock a new era in the mobile payments space,” he added.

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The installation of M-Pesa servers in Kenya brings to an end nearly eight years of foreign hosting. The telco said that the “second generation” M-Pesa platform has a bigger capacity, is much faster and cushioned from interruptions.

The speed of the M-Pesa service will double to 900 transactions per second effectively allowing a wider range of services, according to Safaricom’s general manager for financial services Betty Mwangi-Thuo.

The process of installing the M-Pesa servers locally began 24 months ago, with Safaricom having brought in 50 engineers from across the globe, mainly from Vodafone, IBM and Huawei to design, install the new platform and re-locate the servers locally.

M-Pesa service has about 19 million customers with 81,000 agent outlets.

Besides mobile money transactions, other services such as registration of new customers and signing up for M-Shwari and M-Kesho accounts were restored on Sunday.

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