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E-sim tech connecting Kenyans abroad home

By Brian George | Jan 26th 2022 | 2 min read
By Brian George | January 26th 2022

Alfred Ongere, the Be-Mobile Chief Technology Officer [Courtesy]

If you have ever travelled outside the country, communicating with your loved ones back home can be difficult. Your options are mostly limited to social media sites.

Switching sim cards can also make you lose important contacts from your mobile device. Then there is the compatibility with the phone and heterogeneous telecommunications operations.

Kenyan innovators are now stepping up to develop smarter solutions that are less tedious compared to switching sim cards. The e-sim world could have been pioneered in Kenya by the entrance of Be-Mobile, a mobile app.

Until recently, the e-sim tech was only available for high-end phones that cost an arm and a leg. BeMobile works by allowing the usage of up to four e-mobile phone numbers of different countries on the platform. One can be able to top up airtime, send messages, and make calls. All you need is your original mobile number.

It took Alfred Ongere, the Be-Mobile Chief Technology Officer (pictured), and his team six months to fully develop the application. They, however, didn't do all the development work from scratch. The application currently has over 5,000 downloads with 3,000 active users.

Having launched over a year ago, their biggest competition is the social media applications that have a huge following. BeMobile considers various telecommunication companies as partners as there’s always the need to link various jurisdictional tariffs to succeed in enabling communications.

A major challenge is the cost of data bundles and also getting affordable tech talent for development, maintenance and regular servicing.

“Our biggest mission is to create a platform that resonates with many people in terms of affordability and accessibility. All these are powered by proper communication policies and telecom infrastructure and harmonising of internet and data prices,” said Ongere.

Luckily linking up with other countries is easy, as partners have the legal alignments in order for them to plug in as partners. “The only tough bit was to convince the regulator in our country that other telcos abroad have aligned and all they needed to do is give operational permits,” he added.

Be Mobile makes money from sales of mobile phone numbers that are electronic in nature. Subscription timelines range from three to a year. They also earn revenue from calls and messages sent.


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