Baby Season

In the past 3 months I have found out 3 of my friends are either pregnant or just delivered a baby. The latter group culd seriously give MI5 a run for their pounds. This is a humongous no. of persons within my network since I did not see any of it coming. I like to think I can tell human nature accurately and am generally able to read people (not like this lie to me dood but you get my drift.) 

This turn of events has made me start feeling old. so now I know 3 new mothers. Three new innocent minds to be spoilt. Three new series of good and bad decisions. Three new lives. Three new future tax payers. Three new mouths to feed. I suppose the grind must go on. Contrary to popular belief, consistently flogged by religions, the universe does not exist to serve humanity. We are tenants with a brutally short stint in this apartment we call Life. These three kids will be reading about Ocampo in history books. They will wonder why phones had keypads. They will be shocked that there was a time twitter and facebook didnt exist. And they will think we are ancient and so not with it. 

Congratulations to all the new Mothers out there and good luck!

Android and Safaricom Goldmine

 

 

Ever since mid 2010, Safaricom has been selling a plethora of android based handsets most of them unlocked and at subsidized rates. The latest handset to be pimped to the populace is the Huawei ideos retailing at 8499/- bundled with 1000/- airtime and 600MB of data. A good deal anyway you splice it. This has put the android platform in the hands of many who can be easily convinced that android is a European vegetable. Android1

 

The android sdk, scratch that the ENTIRE OS is free, opensource and is now running hundreds of thousands of Kenyan phones already and many more are in the waiting line. Despite all these inherent advantages to the ecosystem and am yet to see a locally made app that solves an inherently Kenyan problem. A local news app, traffic jam app, overlapped app, NSE live data feed app, foursquare style app for showing which club is happening, beer prices mapped app, an app that shows the rates of any business/provider from zuku to kplc to Nairobi hospital, e.t.c the list is endless an I don’t think its that hard to code (not a coder and hate debugging).

 

This is why I believe all this rhetoric about Safaricom being an evil company is misplaced and misdirected. They are here to make money and helping a random developer make money is not in their manifesto. They have created the ecosystem, a user base and a 3g network to boot. Where are the apps? What more do local developers need?

 

 

 

Safaricom = Yu

Yes. Mwangi the conspirator is back with a big fat bang.

Common knowledge and/or wisdom alludes to the fact that we have 4 telecom operators with licenses to operate in the country. This Would be Orange, Safaricom, Airtel and Yu.

Orange is primarily Government owned at 51% while France telecom holds 49%

Airtel is wholly owned by Bharti Airtel an Indian company with indian habits and psyche

Safaricom is publicly listed with the government holding 35% Vodafone group holding 40% and the rest left to the stock exchange.

When we come to Yu things get sugary and spicy, not necessarily nice and there is definetely some chemical X.

Yu is described as a subsidiary of the Indian based Essar group. Details of local ownership are scanty. Now a little digging on wikipedia shows that the telecoms subsidiary of the Essar group is majority owned by the Vodafone group at 67% while the Essar group holds 33%. The wikipedia articles can be found here and here

Ofcourse nothing is illegal here (I think. . ) but what is the wisdom in the regulator allowing one conglomerate to have controlling power of two telcos in the same market? isn’t this a case of fake competition? The only real competition in this case is Airtel, and Orange. Safaricom and Yu dance to the tune of the same master.

Update:

Turns out Yu is owned by the mother company Essar not the Vodafone-Essar subsidiary. Put down your pikes. We ain’t rioting today.