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By Bernard Wainaina
CEO,Profarms Consultants®

I have no doubt in my mind that after being scorned by Safaricom in the failed M-Kesho deal,Equity bank has been silently scheming on how to clip the wings of monolithic telcom that is Safaricom.

Equity Bank must have felt very wounded after its M-Kesho innovation was spruced up to form M-Shwari baby that was handed over to a rival bank by indomitable Safaricom.

This short clear account of the initial engagement between these two giants which was hyped to be the next best thing in money transfer business forms the basis of present day rivalry between these two great Kenyan companies.

What a better way to cut Safaricom down to size other than Equity Bank choosing to ride on the back of Safaricom twenty million plus subscribers by introducing an independent thin-SIM that will force Safaricom to use its own network SIM to facilitate Equity’s mobile money business!

It is like a robber who snatches your weapon and whips you with it to submit into his power and then robs you of your treasured items.

Safaricom must have seen into this game plan by Equity bank when it launched Finserve Kenya as its mobile money arm of business,but in its wildest dreams,it could never imagine that its formidable subscriber base will be used by Equity Bank through use of thin-SIM to facilitate its own destruction of infallible MPESA innovation.

It is already too late in the day for Safaricom to wiggle out of this ignoble situation,and if it ever tries,Equity Bank has one more ace up its sleeve; it may take-over Airtel and launch itself into an integrated Bank cum giant Telcom behemoth that will pull stops to Safaricom’s monopoly in mobile telephony.

There has been some persistent rumours that Equity Bank wanted to acquire YU-Mobile,but it wanted to deliver a bigger blow to Safaricom by strategising with the second biggest Telcom in Kenya,and indeed within the East Africa Region.

Both Equity Bank and Airtel have great presence within this region,while Safaricom has cocooned itself in Kenya.

My bet is that Equity Bank,if for no other reason,will acquire Airtel in the long run to smack Safaricom’s pride out of its smug mouth.

This is not a wholesome prophesy that I can claim all to my predictions,but that’s how I see the end-game in this battle of titans.

Watch this space!

Bernard Wainaina is an agribusiness principal consultant at his firm,Profarms Consultants®

»{Editor’s note}NEWS JUST BREAKING-IN~

House team halts Equity Bank’s thin-SIM roll-out

The National Assembly’s Energy and ICT Committee has asked the Communications Authority (CA) to halt Equity Bank thin-SIM card rollout until it is satisfied of the security
of the technology.

The move by the parliamentary team comes two days after the regulators, CA and the Central Bank of Kenya, allowed Equity Bank to launch a mobile money services using the technology.

The regulators dismissed Safaricom’s objections on the new card – which will ride on existing SIM cards – saying that initial investigations showed “that no major complaints and particularly on interception of traffic of the primary SIM card have been reported so far.”

Safaricom had welcomed the regulators’ decision saying they were happy with the commitment to review security on the thin SIM card and publish guidelines to protect consumers and industry players.

However, it said it would review its legal commitments to its MPESA customers using the overlay SIM cards by Equity Bank«

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