Payments services company Jambo Pay is set to roll out an Internet of Things (IoT) network in Kenya, setting the pace for a new battlefront in the lucrative telecoms sector.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) last year granted Jambo Pay’s parent company, Web Tribe Ltd, the approval to launch the network for up to one million devices, marking a first for the local firm.

“We have considered your application and the numbering resources shown in the attached annex have been assigned to Web Tribe Ltd for rollout of mobile telephony and machine-to-machine services,” CA Director for Licensing, Compliance and Standards Matano Ndaro told the firm in a letter seen by The Standard.

IoT is a system of networks and devices that experts say will completely change how consumers interact with their devices, and create new opportunities in data analytics.

Devices, ranging from home appliances such as televisions, electric kettles and security cameras, can be fitted with sensors that communicate to each other, exchanging valuable information that can be used in a variety of ways.

Jambo Pay Chief Executive Danson Muchemi yesterday said the company will invest Sh300 million over the next three years in developing the IoT network and offer users a range of applications. 

“We see a lot of opportunity in IoT as Jambo Pay and we already have a customer base of more than one million, so this is a way of deepening our service offering,” he said.

Mr Muchemi said the company has secured the necessary approvals including from the International Telecommunications Union to roll out the new network with a pilot already underway in Nairobi.

“We are piloting in parts of Nairobi and this will be a continuous rollout over the next three years that will cost us about Sh300 million,” he said.

“There is a lot of opportunity in equipping devices with sensors whether it is fridges, vehicles or gates and we will have a lot of value adds for our consumers as we develop the technology.”

Jambo Pay already counts a significant user base across its platforms and services that include e-commerce, government and merchant payments, and is likely to leverage on this to drive adoption. 

The head of IoT at JamboPay, Carol Wanyeki, said they will be providing homegrown solutions to connectivity, convergence and help enable other providers.

“We have already started testing and by July we will have done a complete rollout,” she said.