Orange Money


Here we have a company with as much resources as anyone would need and the best they can do is play catch up.

I wanted to buy some tickets online using the PesaPal platform run by one Agosta Liko when I encountered something that caught me offguard. All the options are there from M-pesa, Yu cash,Airtel money etc including even Equity banks Eazzy 247 but no Orange money. Now I use Equity and linked it with my Orange line believing that soon enough with their Visa branded card, they would be as ubiquitous as M-pesa or atleast have a proper web presence. This in my opinion is the only frontier left as far as mobile payments are concerened. Airtel got started on an awesome note by launching the temporary MasterCard thing but did not sustain the marketing and it died faster than you can swipe. I wonder what the CEOs model their companies after. Don’t they learn anything from Apple?

Marketing should have the largest budget. This was a major scoop for Airtel and what they should have done next is constantly flog it and get it adopted by all the major e-commerce sites in the country if not the region. Get people to understand that to buy stuff online you use Airtel money. But we are in Kenya where Foreign executives think lowering call costs will cause mass exodus from rival networks.

On harassing pesapal on twitter it turns out they are patiently waiting on Orange Kenya to allow them to do it.

Like seriously? Yu announced, launched and has been operating their cash thing for years now and though I have never used it (Nor do I have an intention to) they are fully compatible. So whats up with Orange?

So now I am going to withdraw my cash from the bank, put it in mpesa and carry out my ticket purchase.

So there is no actual utility of having an Orange Money account seeing as their agent network is non-existent. I have seriously never seen any agents.

Thanks for nothing Orange.


Unlimited Internet : Here we go again

It has become a fad of late for telecom companies to offer or rather appear to offer unlimited Internet suites to its clients.

Orange Kenya has had an unlimited Internet offer on its 3G+ platform for a while now and it more or less worked as advertised. You pay 990 bob and you get unlimited Internet for a week on limited speeds maxing out at about 512kbps. This varied with time of day, no. Of users etc but was more or less reliable and you knew what you were getting.

Safaricom not wanting to be left behind on the unlimited internet bandwagon launched theirs with almost identical terms but a more stable speed expectation. Yu and Airtel have similar programmes but they are still on EDGE so they don’t count for this post.

Orange launched ‘proper’ 3G recently and with it expectations that finally the 3G dog fight between the two behemoths was finally hear. I bought enough popcorn for a month anticipating the media battle, the offers and counter offers. Alas none of that happened but I still expected something awesome from camp Orange.

I’ve got to tel you something at this point. I love Orange. There is something about the name, the colours, the advertising and the overall feel to the brand that draws me in keeps me locked. Which is why I bitch a lot about them. If your partner or lover doesn’t rant about you then hamna mapenzi humo. They will just walk out or they are just bidding their time. And to prove my love for the brand this post was uploaded on an orange connection.

So today they launched an unlimited offer on their 3G platform. You can see more here. Problem with this is that it is misleading.

Unlimited burdened with a fair use policy is like saying dead but kinda alive. Unlimited is an absolute. You can’t have conditions. The plans offer you true 3G speeds . . .to a maximum of 1gb usage thereafter you crawl along at 64kbps. 64kbps !! That’s even slow on my phone. And we have 2 active fibre connections and more coming. 64kbps.

Safaricom offer unlimited broadband capped to speeds of 512kbps from day one. And it’s truly unlimited. You can download whatsoever your heart desires. And more often than not you will hit these speeds.

Orange are letting me down. They have a superior network as far as I can tell but they don’t seem to want to use it to their advantage.

Iko nini?

Turns out the guys at Tech Mtaa have gotten Orange to raise the FUP
rate to 256 kbps. Let’s see how it plays out.

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?