As some of you may have noticed, M-PESA is down again. Issues were first noticed on Saturday evening, and after a few hours, services were back by 2300 hours. Of course, any outage, whether it lasts for an hour or less, cripples all transactions that range from people sending and withdrawing cash, to businesses that use M-PESA APIs for payment services.
We explored, albeit briefly, the reason such failures give rise to an outrage from users who have invested so much in the service. The primary reason M-PESA is preferred is that in most cases, it works as advertised, and Safaricom has done its trade so well to net the lion’s share of Kenya’s mobile phone users.
Other players, who, of course, have their mobile money solutions, continue to push for dominance talks that should, theoretically, help in checking unfair competition that only sees one company rake in billions of profits.
Interestingly, the weekend outage, which as of this writing, is still affecting M-PESA services, prompted the Ministry of ICT and the CA to deploy bodies to investigate the matter and detail measures that the telco will take to counter a reoccurrence.
“Even as we ensure mobile services providers give uninterrupted services, we urge mobile money users to have redundancies to guarantee continued services. We wish to inform the public that in line with ensuring we have a competitive market; mobile money interoperability is now fully functional. Subscribers can now move money in their wallets across different mobile money service providers,” noted Joe Mucheru, CS for the Ministry of ICT.
Safaricom reported that the outage was caused by a database degradation.
“We regret to notify our customers and partners that M-Pesa services are currently unavailable due to a database degradation leading to loss of service. Our engineers are working to restore services as soon as possible,” reported the telco in a statement sent to online outlets.
We will update this post once we get more details about the loss of M-PESA service.
[UPDATE] It’s back up.