There’s been a lot of interest from the African press recently in the news that online payments services company JamboPay has obtained a license to operate as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in Kenya.
This is not entirely surprising given that the JamboPay MVNO business model is said to have a strong Internet of Things (IoT) component.
JamboPay parent firm, Web Tribe Limited announced the award, made by telecoms regulator the Communications Authority of Kenya, earlier this week. Web Tribe is a software development and consultancy company specializing in payment systems, management systems, card-based systems and systems integration.
As East African press reports indicate, until now, the firm had focused on online payment services. JamboPay is an online payment gateway that allows users to securely make and receive payments through their mobile phones over the internet.
The licence award means that JamboPay can lease spectrum from mobile network operators and roll out mobile services. JamboPay has said that it is conducting a pilot ahead of rolling out several commercial services. These will begin in Nairobi later this year. Other parts of the country will follow.
Conventional customer communications may or may not be part of the company’s plans, but it has indicated that it hopes to provide additional services to its client base, including IoT services.
These services will initially include smart communications networks that will enable Kenyans to monitor their water and electricity meter services and pay for bills. Vehicle tracking may also be possible.
Jambo Pay chief executive officer Danson Muchemi has told Kenya’s Business Daily that the firm will invest Sh 300 million (about $2.73 million).
The dominant player in the market, Safaricom, is said to be working with IoT for consumer offerings using its existing 4G network, but this is still a relatively new market in Kenya,