Jambo Pay gets licence to offer mobile phone services


JamboPay CEO Danson Muchemi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Online payments services company Jambo Pay has obtained a license to operate a virtual mobile phone service in Kenya, intensifying competition in the telco sector dominated by market leader Safaricom #ticker:SCOM.

Jambo Pay parent firm, Web Tribe Limited said Monday it has been awarded a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licence by the telecoms regulator Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) effectively allowing it to lease spectrum from mobile network operators and roll out mobile services.

Following the nod, the firm which has previously focused on online payment services, said it is conducting a pilot ahead of rolling out several commercial services initially in Nairobi later this year and subsequently other parts of the country.

The company said its initial services will include smart communications networks which will enable Kenyans to monitor their water and electricity meter services and pay for the bills as well as track their vehicles.

"Yes we have a been granted License for Mobile virtual Network operator," said Jambo Pay chief executive officer Danson Muchemi.

"This we intend to utilise to provide additional services to our client base. The services will include IoT (Internet of Things services)."

The emerging global market for “Internet of Things”, the concept of connecting household devices to the Internet, has been chiefly for vehicle tracking, mobile payments and smart cities in Africa.

Mr Muchemi told Business Daily the firm will invest Sh 300 million following the approval and will target mobile payments in sectors like public transport and the energy sector.

South Africa, the continent’s most advanced economy, has been the leader in rolling out Internet-connected devices, with the latest project being smart meters for a power utility in the country’s biggest city Johannesburg.

"We will make available the IoT (Internet of Things) network to innovators, applications developers and device manufacturers," said Mr Muchemi in interview.

"We are running a limited pilot in parts of Nairobi. Commercial rollout will be last half of this year."

Carol Wanyeki, Head of Internet of Things at Jambo Pay said the firm will immediately focus on machine-to-machine services.

"For the services, there is smart homes, tracking, sensors," she told Business Daily.

The telco space market entry by Jambo Pay would take the battle to players like Safaricom which also says it is planning to bring consumer solutions by leveraging on IoT to deliver smart water metering and animal tracking systems.

Safaricom's new IoT network will tap into the firm’s existing 4G network and targets energy, water and power firms that use smart meters.

Companies can also use the network to manage their vehicle fleet.