Safaricom targets utility firms in new IoT network plan

Sylvia Mulinge,Thibaud Rerolle
Safaricom Chief Technology Officer Thibaud Rerolle (L) with Chief Customer Officer Sylvia Mulinge during a past product launch. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Telecommunications firm Safaricom #ticker:SCOM plans to develop a smart communications network which will enable Kenyans to monitor water and electricity meters as well as track their vehicles.

Through the network, remote sensors will be able to communicate data to mobile phone and computer screens which individuals and businesses can monitor.

Safaricom will provide a database solution which subscribers can log into to access required data.

The new Internet of Things (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.

“We basically put a lot of effort in the planning and the design of the services that we are generating. That covers the network, (and) the functionality of the services…,” said Safaricom Chief Technology Officer Thibaud Rerolle.


IoT technology is deployed in diverse industries. In the agricultural sector, some greenhouse farms, for instance, use IoT devices to monitor temperature and humidity levels.

Water companies use it to monitor water volumes, detect leakages in their pipes and identify places where criminals may be intercepting the flow. Firms are said to lose between 50 and 70 per cent of their water in transit.

Safaricom is yet to announce the timelines for the rollout of the new network which will be piloted in major towns before being launched in rural areas.

Last year, Internet Service Provider Liquid Telecom partnered with France-based network provider, Sigfox to set up an IoT network.

Companies interested in the technology will independently hire developers to design their IoT infrastructure and buy the sensors required for the platform.

They will then pay Liquid Telecom to provide the network necessary to link the devices to company databases.