President Uhuru Kenyatta has refused to be drawn in to the thin SIM battle pitting Safaricom and Equity Bank saying that fair competition will enable consumers to get better data and mobile money deals.
The President who was speaking in Kigali, Rwanda indicated that some players have lobbied that he stop the licensing of the thin sim claiming that it is insecure but the President, calling them lobbyists, said that he is not going to intervene for anyone leaving the market to determine what is best for itself.
According to the Daily Nation and commenting on the debate for or against the thin SIM, President Uhuru said, “Let them (Equity and Safaricom) fight out. All we want is a cheaper and better product for people.”
Safaricom has lobbied almost all concerned parties including technology associations, media entities, politicians and individuals to influence the decision of the Communication Authority regarding the thin SIM technology. All have been in vain as the Communication Authority (CA) has completely gone against the advice of manipulable entities like GSMA and Kenyan MPs to grant Equity bank through EquiTel the authority to launch data and mobile money services in the country.
President Uhuru has said that mistakes the country will make from licensing the thin SIM technology will be taken as a lesson.
The EquiTel thin-SIM technology through Taisys will mostly be used by the banking giant to launch various mobile banking products. Through an App or a USSD code, subscribers will be able to switch between networks for transactions. The thin-SIM sits between the normal SIM card and the mobile device. Through the thin-SIM, subscribers will not be able to make voice calls.
Safaricom and Equity bank both have deep political connections and pockets making them almost equals in the competition field. The regulator is in the country just by name, always budging to political lobbying and bribery.
Pundits also believe that Safaricom is fighting a losing battle in regards to the thin-SIM or any other SIM card as subscribers might soon be able to not rely on operator SIM card but device vendor or manufacturer’s SIM as witnessed by the recent launch of Apple SIM. Through the new technology launched by the Curputino giant, iPad Air 2 will come with an Apple SIM which will work with any network in US and UK. The technology might go global as device manufacturers discard the old SIM technology as they seek to build SLIMMER, FASTER and more versatile devices.