Telcos CEOs on the spot in push to declare Safaricom dominant

I agree with everything you say below except on the platform thing. MPESA is a indeed a platform, even by your own definition that you shared below, which states: 
Platforms are structures that allow multiple products to be built within the same technical framework.

I had my own definition from a leading researcher in the regulatory space, J. Bauer, (
He defines a platform  as follows:
“technological foundations upon which other products, services,and systems are built” 
MPESA has provided  the foundation and APIs upon which banking, eCommerce, Payment Gateways, etc have been built.  It is a platform, irrespective of the fact that initially it was not designed as such.  Even FB, Google, AWS, and many others were initially private entities but organically grew into being platforms.
Which really is the regulatory crux of the matter. The owners of these emerging platforms still want to play by the old rules when their systems were Products, conveniently ignoring the fact that they are actually now Platforms.  
Infact MPESA is BOTH a platform and a product at the same time. They just chose to play by product rules when it is convenient to shield them from platform responsibilities.
But it is an interesting and wide topic.  Maybe Safcom should sponsor a 1week e-discussion to enable this to be ventilated.

On Monday, July 30, 2018, 8:11:40 PM GMT+3, Ali Hussein <> wrote:

I was baiting you..and you fell for it.. LOL!
Let me first address the issue of Mpesa and the allegations that it is a Platform. I recommend the book Platform Revolution by Geoffrey Parker, Marshall Van Alsytne and Sangeet Paul Choudrey. 
According to Tech blogger Jonathan Clarks, “Platforms are structures that allow multiple products to be built within the same technical framework. Companies invest in platforms in the hope that future products can be developed faster and cheaper, than if they built them stand-alone. Today it is much more important to think of a platform as a business framework. By this I mean a framework that allows multiple business models to be built and supported. For instance, Amazon is an online retail framework. Amazon started by selling books. Over time they have expanded to selling all sorts of other things. Apple iTunes started by selling tracks and now uses the same framework to sell videos.”
So back to my issue of whether M-Pesa is a Platform. M-Pesa wasn’t built from the ground up to be a Platform. To claim that M-Pesa is a Platform is like saying that a VW Kombi is a Toyota VX  just because some Jua Kali mechanic decided to put a 5.7-Liter DOHC 32-Valve V8 with Dual Independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i); 381 hp @ 5600 rpm; 401 lb.-ft. @ 3600 rpm into the Kombi – #JustSaying.. 🙂 With all due respect to Safaricom of course.. 

Platforms are an amazing thing to behold. Apple IOS is a Platform. The Amazon Ecosystem is a Platform. Google’s Android is a Platform. Facebook is a Platform. You get my point.

We spend alot of time bashing Safaricom. And it is as it should be since they are the Big Boys/Girls in our part of the wood
s..But Safaricom has so many problems..I wish we can exploit them instead of wasting so much energy on them.. The world is full of companies that Governments were unable to break up but the market took care of that.. The regulatory landscape is not optimal for sure..and that can be worked on..But we also need to look inwards..Barclays is already taking steps with Timiza, so is HF..And of course there is Equity..The fact is this – We are all fighting for the 80% of the 10% market Safaricom has in mobile money..#GoFigure

I agree with you that the Regulator needs to get up to speed with the new reality. However it’s not that simple. Remember the tussle between the CA (Communications Authority) and CAK (Competitions Authority of Kenya) on the Market Study? Add to this mix the CMA (Capital Markets Authority) and CBK (Central Bank of Kenya) to get an idea of how tough regulation is today. At the height of the dominance conversation last year I attempted to make a sense of it. See link below:-

Dominance, Regulation and the New Strategic Imperatives 

Here’s a fact that most of us don’t want to come to terms with. As untidy as free markets are, they are more efficient than Governments. Chairman William Kisang of the House Committee on Communication, Information and Innovation is my hero for seeing off this continuous rant on Dominance. Now he must take it one step further and create a Super Regulator (It can be that the different regulators and arms of government create a working committee that meets regularly and share notes to ensure they are on the same page when it comes to Innovation and New Business Models that transcend industries.

We must move forward. Safaricom’s ‘dominance’ will be taken care of by the Market. With a little help from a forward looking regulator of course..I’m willing to bet my next year’s salary on it. 🙂


Ali HusseinPrincipalAHK & Associates+254 0713 601113 

Twitter: @AliHKassim

Skype: abu-jomo

LinkedIn: http://ke.linkedin. com/in/alihkassim

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”  ~ Aristotle

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On 30 Jul 2018, at 6:35 PM, Walubengo J <> wrote:

@Ali, am with Eng Kariuki on this one 😉
Indeed we are in the age of platforms (read MPESA as an example).  And yes we can’t blame Safcom for milking MPESA to the hilt (eg. most government service mobile money payments have a preferred providers ;-).  
I would rather blame the regulator for not seeing this coming, and when they finally saw it, they dilly dallied to intervene (remember 2year market study?)  Furthermore, previous thinking that platforms are sacred corporate jewels not to be touched or  that  all markets will eventually self-correct have been proved wrong elsewhere with FB, Google, etc coming under heavy ‘regulatory fire’ in the recent past.
I dont claim to have the answer to Safcom dominance, but I can claim very strongly that the market forces will never self-correct the dominant position that Safcom continues to enjoy. 
Is dominance  a good thing? Yes, for Safcom.  Is it a bad thing?  Yes, for a country that may realize that they cannot transmit election results simply because the competing providers dont have presence in some areas under their zones. Or that you can’t access internet or send mobile money coz Safcom network sneezed for an hour or two as it happened a week ago. 
I have said this before, the dominance conversation must be rise above competition issues and begin to be interrogated at the level of national security.  If Safcom beats competition to pulp, it is good for its shareholders (me with my very small shares  included), BUT it is bad thing for the country that may discover they have no commensurate alternatives.
That said, I dont believe baby sitting competition to beat Safcom is the answer either.  
Only a new innovation, perhaps the next ‘MPESA on a Blockchain’ sort of thing will be able to give  Safcom the challenge it deserves.
On Monday, July 30, 2018, 6:00:10 PM GMT+3, Admin CampusCiti via kictanet < > wrote:

Fortunately I’m not a graduate of Telecommunications Law.. So I can see clearly.. #JustSaying..
I have always advocated for a review of the Framework on competition in not just the Telco sector but most sectors. The Age of Platforms Is here my brother. And we ignore it or focus on old school models of competition at our own risk. The Government is a very inefficient way to correct market conditions. Look at what is happening the world over. 
Why don’t we go ahead and also declare Uber dominant? Let’s engage on this issue and not shoot from the hip. Chairman Kisang is my hero. He must have been smoking the right thing that morning. 🙂 

Ali Hussein
+254 0713 601113 

Twitter: @AliHKassim

Skype: abu-jomo

LinkedIn: http://ke.linkedin. com/in/alihkassim


“Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought”.  ~ Albert Szent-Györgyi
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On 30 Jul 2018, at 5:37 PM, John Kariuki via kictanet < > wrote:

Listers, Ali. It is a fact that  “In certain telecommunications market segments in Kenya, SAFARICOM is dominant. Any graduate of telecommunications law will confirm that. It has nothing to do with punishing success or innovation. It is a matter of telecommunications and competition laws. If it was in UK or EU I have no doubt that the issue would not have dragged this long. Remember we also have the ‘small problem’ of Data Protection which has dragged for at least 10 years. Just to repeat what one consultant told my then bosses many years ago and I quote  “The fact that you refuse to see a problem does not mean that it does not exist”. If only we had listened! 

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On Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 14:37, Barrack Otieno via kictanet< > wrote: ______________________________ _________________
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