, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – Safaricom has now scheduled its M-PESA upgrade for this Saturday November 27 from 9pm to 6am Monday November 29.
During the 36-hour period, all M-PESA services including money transfer, new registrations, customer care and airtime top-up via M-PESA will be unavailable.
The upgrade comes two weeks after the operator was forced to shelve the exercise after a spate of cuts to Safaricom’s fibre optic network that led to major disruptions of the firm’s operations.
The upgrade will put the M-PESA system on a new platform with very high capacity to keep in pace with the service\’s unprecedented take-up.
Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore regretted the inconvenience it will cause to customers but stressed that it was a necessary but a temporary sacrifice in order to be able to take the service to the ‘next level.’
"The M-PESA service has become critical to so many Kenyans, and we regret the need to disable M-PESA for any period. However, I am excited by the opportunities that the new platform will provide us to enhance our service offering in the future,” Mr Collymore said.
Mr Collymore said the new M-PESA platform would allow for faster transaction turnaround and ensure system stability as it will be able to handle more transactions.
The upgrade is also expected to allow Safaricom to introduce innovative services with the new platform and give business partners ease of integration.
"We are aware of the critical role M-PESA plays in facilitating and enabling day-to-day life in Kenya, no effort has been spared by Safaricom to ensure the system is back up as soon as possible and on schedule," he said.
In September, Safaricom revealed it had appealed to the Central Bank for permission to increase the money transfer limits on M-PESA, which is currently capped at Sh35,000 per transaction.
Safaricom wants to take the limit to Sh50,000 which it believes would ease high valued transactions.
Since its introduction in 2007, the money transfer service has attracted 13.5 million subscribers moving an estimated Sh37.7 billion in person-to-person transfer a day. By March 2010, M-PESA had moved an estimated Sh405.52 billion.