Earlier in the year, the Communications Authority of Kenya granted Jamii Telecoms 700MHz frequency that could allow the company widely known for its Faiba brand to operate 4G. Jamii Telecoms would offer mobile phone services with prefix 0747. The company said that it was planning to launch trials and had invested Sh5.1 billion in its network infrastructure. Once the commercial trials were successful, Jamii planned to focus on offering data services.
The trials were seemingly a success as Jamii Telecoms is set to tomorrow (5th december 2017) launch its operations. This will make it the 5th mobile network operator in Kenya after Safaricom, Telkom Kenya, Airtel and Equitel. The new telco called Faiba Mobile will be the next frontier for Jamii Telecoms which has aggressively pursued broadband connectivity in the corporate, home and retail market segments in Kenya.
In July this year, local publication Business Daily also reported Jamii Telecom was looking to venture into the payments space. Jamii applied to register trademarks for payments and mobile money services including Faiba Money, Faiba Mobile and Faiba Pay. It at the same time sought to trademark the 4G Internet brand which it is launching. The payment services may be part of the value adds Faiba will offer to attract customers to its networks.
It will be interesting to see how Jamii Telecom positions and markets itself amidst increased competition in the data space. Market leader Safaricom has been keen to grow its mobile data offering, while pursuing the home market with Safaricom Home. Telkom Kenya on the other hand has positioned itself as a data focused telco, with subsidized data offerings targeting the youthful demographic. The venture of Jamii into the space will certainly intensify competition.