KDN’s Bandwidth Wagon and KCB’s Mobile Wallet.
The last couple of weeks have been quite busy with travel and work so I’ve literally had no time to blog (shame!). On the travel side, I was in South Africa’s Johannesburg City last week for the inaugural Mobile Web Africa Conference which was a real eye opener for me (I’ll be blogging more on this event over the weekend for a full round up of what was interesting there).
So, just to get the weekend going, there are two really interesting developments in Kenya’s ICT landscape this week. The first is that Kenya Data Networks or KDN as they are popularly known have announced this week that they are quadrupling bandwidth to their clients for the same price. This is really interesting since a couple of months back both AccessKenya and UUNET had doubled bandwidth to their clients for the same price but KDN as effectively gone a step further and they are bound to unleash a bandwidth war of sorts. At the end of the day, what remains to be seen is if the other players in the marketplace follow suit and we can finally have the benefit of much faster bandwidth at lower prices since the SEACOM and TEAMS undersea cables went live.
In other news this week and what is clearly a counter move to Safaricom’s M-Pesa and Zain’s Zap money transfer services, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) is set to launch a mobile wallet service early next year. The service from KCB is interesting in that one does NOT have to be a KCB customer to access the service and will only require a mobile phone on any of the Kenyan mobile networks (initially). The other interesting aspect of the KCB mobile wallet is that it will be available not only in Kenya but also in all the countries where KCB currently operates including Tanzania, Uganda and Southern Sudan.
The KCB mobile wallet will also interface with Safaricom’s M-Pesa service meaning that users will be able to top-up or withdraw funds from their M-Pesa accounts to their KCB mobile wallets and vice versa. Finally, the limit for money transfers using the KCB mobile wallet will be Kes. 100,000.00 which is higher than the limits currently offered on Zain’s Zap and Safaricom’s M-Pesa services. In a nutshell, KCB is proving that its not only the largest bank in Kenya but possibly the most innovative too by fully embracing the mobile money channel instead of fighting it!