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Kenyans cell phones are used for nearly all business


Residents of Kenya are spending a fraction of the cost for a good calling plan without any contract requiring a person to stick with a carrier for a long period of time. According to NBC News, the result has Kenyans on their phones quite often and able to conduct much more business than ever before.

Even though they do not have certain cell phone monitoring software, they can do mobile banking and it is easy to do so. By installing “M-Pesa” onto their phone, they are able to transfer money to their family members or friends across Africa. It has quickly become how the majority of Kenyans do business, and it is a new and improved way for 90 percent of the residents who previously didn’t have a bank account, according to the news source.

However, this is not how it has always been in Kenya. Six years ago, a Canadian businessman told the news source he had to pay more than $1,000 a month to connect to the internet. Another photographer admitted he had to go to a five-star hotel a few days a week to access the web.

“Those days, there was just a handful of cyber cafes and they charged somewhere near the equivalent of $5 an hour, pretty pricey for the average user,” the photographer told the news outlet.

However, it all changed when the Communications Commission of Kenya got rid of the cell phone termination rates and cut the charge for connecting a call to another cell phone carrier’s network. With this big fee gone, competitors had to fight for consumers, and the consumers are not complaining, the media outlet reports.

Those in Kenya can also access Gmail on their devices with an internet connection. According to the Business Day Online, Google recently announced Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya are now able to access a Gmail account through SMS on basic phones. As long as the phone has a text message capability, they will be able to email with 3G or any type of data connection.

When these text messages are sent, they will pop up just like a normal email. They will even appear in the appropriate thread when necessary, the media outlet reports.


1 Comment

  • Anibal Boone January 28, 2013 at 4:08 am

    m-Pesa has big things to say about the future of African economies. It demonstrates the potential in the huge and rapid dissemination of mobile phones and other flexible, adaptable technologies on the continent. But it also shows the value of dreaming big but thinking locally. M-Pesa is not an attempt to recreate developed countries’ banking systems in Africa. Instead, it’s an idea which has been tailored to the Kenyan environment. Rather than giving up on poor, isolated communities as unbankable, it has extended financial services to their most apparently unlikely customers. Rather than giving up on sophisticated economic transactions in countries with poor infrastructure, it has found a way to circumvent that infrastructure, creating a virtual, mobile one of its own.


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