Doubtful. It would be like expecting their roadshows to have the phones you want at a discount only to learn that some end up dying within a month of use - allegedly because they’re the defective units manufacturers sell off in bulk to try offset loses.
This might be used to test their - still to be showcased API - before wider rollout. Kenyans don’t trust online shopping esp from other Kenyans merchants - notice how many cloth and handbag sellers on facebook end up opening stalls in town? Clients want to verify in person before buying and thanks to the few cons out there, every vendor suffers.
Clients also change their mind esp when it’s pay on delivery - someone wants a pink top on tuesday but come friday they think the sky blue one is better even though the pink one is at their door, they refuse to pay so the company is down time and cost of delivery plus missed opportunity to sell that top to someone else.
If safcon still sell network locked phones, it’s a possibility that this will be MPESA only.
Safcon are behaving like Apple & Sony are right now - Apple won’t let iMessage be cross platform while it’s still the #1 preferred premium handset in the US while Sony won’t allow cross platform play while they’re the #1 Console manufacturer in the world. The moment this changes they’ll be more accommodating.
Mobile money would have been free and cross platform years ago if both: the competition provided solid service to their customers - invest in network reach & performance - & customers didn’t let their impatience and frustration transform small network outages - which happen on every network - into an unbearable ‘inconvenience’ in their minds.
Copycat market remember. They might just poach the entire divisions of e-commerce back end - site admin, business intelligence, sales - from competitors and form their own department, then use alibaba’s as a blueprint for a clone model that they’ll tout as revolutionary, rope in a few ‘influencers’ for ads and try win some awards.
What would make their API & e-Conmerce store dead before it even arrives is if WhatsApp integrated peer-to-peer money into the app. While there might be a small, maybe even insignificant charge per top up or transaction - it would be cheaper than MPESA charges - their goal would be to allow users to buy products/services from businesses who pay to advertise on the app - so ensuring users have as few charges as possible is in their best interests.
Peer-to-Peer would eliminate the need for putting up your goods on a third party store that charges you 30% (some up to 45%) to host your shop for goods which consumers want to physically see anyway. Might as well have your own shop.
MPESA isn’t the advantage people think it is - or once was - now that the charges are there for everyone to see. Transacting 10,000 a day (the average for young people i’ve met in business) costs you at least KES 85 (110 if you’re withdrawing). Considering most use it to pay for physical goods, it will become very costly if relied upon for e-conmerce.
Delivery within Nairobi costs 250 (G4S) up to 500 with a cheap boda and that’s after you’ve paid via MPESA + ya kutoa = 195 for a max total of 700. Why not pay the bus fare at off peak - 100 - go inspect the merchandise then pay cash from the ATM - 33/-;
I see a lot more people doing that these days in the stalls around town.