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Service jitters pull Safaricom’s share to three week low

CEO Safaricom Bob Collymore

The Nairobi Securities Exchange’s largest listed stock by number of shares sunk to a three-week low of Sh18.95 yesterday as its service suffered disruption.

As subscribers across the country came to terms with the disruption that hit Safaricom’s services on Monday, the market was all ears. Yesterday, Safaricom’s share value registered its second straight loss after Monday’s news. On Monday, its share shed 0.26 per cent of its value as only 2.8 million shares exchanged hands.

The change means that since the closure of the market on Friday, the past two trading sessions have seen the over 40 billion listed shares of Safaricom suffer a paper loss of Sh8 billion.

Since touching a low of Sh18.65 on April 7, the share has been averaging above Sh19.15 and even recorded a high of Sh19.60 on April 13. Safaricom Chief Executive Bob Collymore moved to assure customers that the system outage had been addressed and all services restored.

Redundant equipment

“We had two traffic outlets which failed rapidly, one after the other,” he said in a statement. He explained that his team quickly started operating the affected functions from redundant equipment to restore services.

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“I truly appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as we worked to resolve the issue and sincerely thank you for staying connected to Safaricom,” read Collymore’s statement. By Monday afternoon, most services – data, voice, and M-Pesa – had been restored even as Collymore assured clients that the team was “now working to ensure that network stability continues”.

The company yesterday announced that M-Pesa transactions would be offered for free for 24 hours from midnight today (April 26). “As a small gesture, from midnight tonight to midnight tomorrow, all our customers will be able to send money on the M-PESA network for free,” said Mr Collymore.

ICT experts also weighed in on the outage, with Kenya ICT Action Network asking the Government and the industry regulator to implement legislation to guide the operation of critical infrastructure.

Dr Matunda Nyanchama, an ICT expert and director of research firm Angano Consulting, said this would make it possible to direct traffic to other networks’ idle capacity in case of failures such as the one experienced on Safaricom on Monday.

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