Kenya’s leading operator Safaricom has awarded Chinese giant Huawei a tender to upgrade M-Pesa to a new platform that will enable users to make instant payments of their bills.
Bills such as post paid electricity bills, insurance premiums and bank payments will be able to be paid in real time when the upgrade, expected to take 18 months, is complete.
The new platform should avoid current inconveniences such as electricity disconnections, reports Business Daily.
It currently takes 48 hours for payments made to Kenya Power, while those made to the National Hospital Insurance Fund take 76 hours.
Former Safaricom chief executive and director of mobile money at Vodafone Group Services, Michael Joseph, said: “Safaricom will migrate to this new platform in about 18 months’ time and planning has already begun for the extremely complicated process.
“The new platform is designed to be more efficient and therefore costs less to operate and maintain.”
Joseph added the new platform would come with additional functions that allow for M-Pesa’s integration with those of other vendors in banking, micro-insurance and retail sectors, especially supermarkets enabling shoppers to use the mobile money platform to pay for their goods instantly.
The M-Pesa upgrade will provide for the move of servers to be relocated from Germany to Kenya, which will enable them to seek the bulk government payments such as pensions and salaries paid to beneficiaries in remote locations.
The current M-Pesa platform handles between 200 to 300 transactions per second, but after migration the rate is set to go up 10 times.
HumanIPO reported last week M-Pesa transactions reached US$5 billion in the first three months of 2013.