LIMITED SERVICE

If you want to know how good a road is, do not drive a state of the art German machine but rather drive in a ‘Dala Dala’ (a taxi from kisumu where the passenger has to literally hold the door shut). Imagine a vehicle that shakes and vibrates when the wind blows.

If the road is bad you and the door will be thrown out on to the road. Now if the road is good just hope that the car has good breaks. This is the same as trying to find out which network is the best in Kenya.

 

When Safaricom came up with the Kabambe phone, I was happy that low income folks will be able to get a good device. The phone is indeed good to look at but after a while you end up understanding why they say cheap is expensive.

Before I go off on the bad here is the good, the battery life is good, actually remarkably good. You notice that first bad thing about it when you enter a toilet. The phone loses network once you are in the can.

 

When you buy a phone one of the tests you should do is using it in the can. Now that there is the background sound reduction feature in several devices. The can used to act as a background sound reduction feature. Unfortunately since kabambe loses network first test is simply poor show.

 

Now the second test is calling someone in down town Nairobi on Friday, with the kabambe, the device lets you know that you are on limited service which means no one can call you and you can’t call either. Therefore you miss out on particular calls.

For a devices that has been advertised by Safcom and used for give-aways… all I can say is a total let down. I left the phone on a bar counter and still found the damn phone there no one bothered with it.

 

The good news from Safaricom is that the bonga points promotion is very good I actually got 15 minutes free talk time…who can beat that….. econet says they will be cheaper not more than 3 bob across networks and from my sources they can afford to do this.

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YU POWERED BY ESSAR

YU powered by Essar is here and they want you to express yourself in the simplest way possible. That shouldn’t be a hard, Kenyans are beginning to find ways to express themselves.

For Econet getting that much needed clientele should be a walk in the beach on a hot Sunday. ‘it looks like a nice day and place to walk but …no one told me about sand getting into my shoes and jeepers creepers walking in sand is such a taxing thing’.

 

What is encouraging about the company is its campaign. Simple and definitely fly as the fly-gal says about reminiscence.

For Econet all is need from you is hopeful less of the previous legal drama and more of the message.

 

Hey orange has hit the a million flamingoes …sorry customers. What I said earlier vindicates me. We are set for a growth of 30% annually over the next 4 to 7 years in the region.

Am pretty confident that the global financial quandary will have an insignificant implication on our continent.

 

Off course remittance from the Diaspora will reduce but remember a lot of what we consume is generated here. So generally all indication point to a sustained growth since Kenyans and the regions inhabitants now know that if you do not communicate you will not get business. M-Pesa is such a lovely case study no need to bring it up.

Penetration is at 24% and more people more products are coming up for the mobile phone. Any one thinking otherwise…

 

December is set to be an interesting month as the offers will come in droves and the consumer will be the happier one.

 

A word of caution to the operators, We tend to talk more over December than any month. Don’t let us down my auntie will call to tell me about her kittens and the meaning of life plussss ….

POWER OF CROWD SOURCING

Someone asked me what crowd sourcing is, this is what I said…. Take a product and give it to the public or consumer and let the show you they can do with it.

 

Now the race is on to win the hearts minds and talking habits of Kenyans. Some people will tell you that with 13 million people using mobile phones in Kenya then this base is quite big and saturation is imminent. Well this number could be true but pundits will tell you that saturation will occur in seven years. And Michael, Rene, Dominique and Foley understand this, thus the price wars which will be more than what is appearing on the press today.

 

Indeed many of us tech-savvy guys have at least mobile lines thus bringing down the number of subscribers down. As per the government we are just over 38 million now making the subscriber base just shy over a quarter. The players must be smiling with glee.

 

Let me now digress

We produce about half a million young Kenyans into the job market each year. Many of them set out to acquire devices. Because today many young Kenyans are going into small business and not relying on employment; this makes communications quite important and they young guys know this. The phone is the link to any contract or job offer. When you are without network then you become inaccessible and the job goes to the next person on the address book.

 

If this illustration is not ringing home, then take a look at the classifieds, or just take a walk in the city estates. From salons, to tutors, to the famous herbalists who seem to treat any disease ever heard or about to be discovered, to that bakery that can make that special cake for you occasion; the list is endless. Now all you need is a sign at the bus stop and expect a call for your services.

 

In fact because of these kinds of business the M-pesa product has actual blossomed to a colossus where now established institutions are using it to offer an array of products.

What this means that the Kenyan consumer is not just looking for a device and a network that allows him or her to talk to the relative but to conduct business and get a lively hood.

The club 20 from Zain is a fast and a pal who runs a video shop uses it to text to his clients of the new arrivals in his movie shop. Now that is tech/savvy/ingenious. Majority of his clients fall in the target audience that Zain is looking for with the Vuka Tariff. Check the ad and see the age bracket.

 

It’s no longer a question of where you are and what are you doing but rather ‘are you John the electrician? I have….’

For the players value addition and products will spar the sector to growth levels that are yet to be attained. We still need to reach 20 million people to ask what next.

I particularly impressed by my video shop guy. He has seen a product that makes him work smarter and not harder. That is the power of crowd sourcing.