Tuesday, 07 April 2009

MTN MobileMoney, Nakumatt Oasis na Kadhalika

Mobile Money
MTN, the mobile network with the largest market share in Uganda started offering mobile money transfers modelled exactly like Safaricom's M-pesa a month or so ago.Called MTN MobileMoney-Go send Money Now Now-I like they used that Luganda-ish phrase-people often say now now, directly translated from kati kati-right away.
Just like M-Pesa may have made it difficult for some people to instantly switch to Zain despite the Vuka tarriff in Kenya, I think MTN MobileMoney will make people stick to MTN.
I'm an MTN Mteja, for the mere fact that it looked more popular than Zain, Warid, UTL, and Orange when I came in.Additionally, most of my contacts at home are on Safaricom and I'd only get local rates -UGX 2000/day (about one USD) when I'm calling Zain-Zain only. I only know 2 people on the orange network in Kenya, so didn't even check them out. Plus I can call Safaricom in Kenya from my Safaricom line for 10/= flat...Only thing I don't uderstand is how MTN discounts their MTN-MTN calls; it could be 0% discount one moment and jump to 60% once you're done talking.

Oh well, too bad multi-currency, cross-border mobile money transfer is still a dream. If Zain introduced Zap regionally, forget number importability, I think I'd move ASAP. Or if Yu in Kenya sold to MTN, as per one Kahenya, and the mobile money thing went cross-border.

Nakumatt Oasis
It's set to open on April 9th at (or is it next to?) Garden City, if all goes according to plan.Some major competition to Uchumi next door, no doubt. Garden city is where the life-style shopper goes.

Moving out, and on
I moved into a nicer apartment the last weekend of March. Not the one I'd talked about in some earlier post. I'll have to do a whole post on it. Bad thing is that my commute is longer. Matatus go to the New Taxi park, which gets real muddy when it rains. Was not planning on getting a car this year, we'll see how that goes as it gets wetter.

Easter Plans, Scenic Uganda, Triathlon
Had talked with Tumwijuke about a possible Murchinson Falls Park visit, but due to some 'complications', may end up at Bujagali Falls. Uganda is v. beautiful, and the people nicer than the Kenyans, I feel. I went rafting on the Nile on Valentines Day weekend, and participated at the Entebbe Triathlon a couple weeks ago by cheering on a couple colleagues that are more athletic than I. Gorilla viewing at Bwindi is too expensive-close to $500. Not willing to part with that much. But paycheck allowing, and God-willing I wish to see more of this beautiful country.

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