Inside Politics

Safaricom announces another interruption of M-Pesa services

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021 01:03 |
Mpesa transaction. Photo/File

SERVICE:  For the second month running, Safaricom has announced a planned maintenance on its mobile money platform M-Pesa, to ensure it meets the needs of its customers.

The maintenance will take four hours on Wednesday, from 12am to 4am, a period within which services including airtime purchases shall be temporarily unavailable.

“Timing of this maintenance activity has been planned to result in the least inconvenience to our customers,” Safaricom said in a statement.

However, the announcement did go down with customers, who expressed concern over the increased maintenance.

Three months

“This has been the norm. M-Pesa has been undergoing maintenance more than 10 times in the last three months,” said Guru Mwafriqa, on his Twitter handle.

Opinion is divided over the frequency in maintenance, with speculation rife that the increased number of transactions could be constraining the system. The platform has over 40 million users and processes over Sh60 billion a day. It is operates in Kenya, Tanzania, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique and Egypt.

Fears also abound that such outages can compromise private user data, in addition to loss of revenue for firms and individuals which can run into millions of shillings.

However, Raphael Matu, a financial analyst reckons that though the four-hour down-time will lead to reduced transaction and loss of revenue, it will not be major since it has been anticipated.

Safaricom has been operating M-Pesa for 14 years, a period which has ushered in a new period of money transactions.

In April last year, Safaricom and Vodacom completed the acquisition of the M-Pesa brand, product development and support services from Vodafone through a newly-created joint venture.

The duo said the transaction, first announced in 2019, would accelerate the platform’s growth in Africa by giving both Vodacom and Safaricom full control of the brand, product development and support services as well as the opportunity to expand into new African markets.

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