Safaricom network failure paralyses millions


A man makes a phone call. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A Safaricom #ticker:SCOM network outage has left millions of Kenyans in a communication blackout this morning.

Subscribers were unable to make calls and browse on Safaricom’s network or to send money via M-Pesa.

Kenyans took to the social media platform, Twitter, to complain about the service outage.

The company, in response, said that the shutdown was unscheduled and that it was working to resolve it.

“Our apologies, we are experiencing a technical hitch on voice, data, m-pesa and wimax services and are working to resolve,” said Safaricom on its official Twitter handle.

M-Pesa outage a fiscal risk

Safaricom is Kenya’s dominant mobile telecommunications company with 27.7 million subscribers, accounting for 80.6 per cent of the voice market share.

The Treasury last year classified a possible M-Pesa outage as a fiscal risk to the country, given the platforms ubiquity in Kenya’s economy.

The Communications Authority of Kenya data indicates that about Sh3.3 trillion was moved through Safaricom’s M-Pesa platform last year.

Update: Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore in a statement acknowledged the network failure, saying voice, data, SMS and M-Pesa services were back up but that the issue was not fully resolved.

"We have identified the root cause of the outage and are working to resolve this in the shortest time possible. In the meantime, voice, data, SMS, M-pesa and Enterprise services will be available intermittently until the issue is fully resolved."

READ: Treasury report reveals fears over M-Pesa’s critical role in economy