M-commerce value added services and their impact on e-commerce: a socio - cultural case study of Nairobi, Kenya and its environs"
Since the introduction of mobile phone communication in Kenya in late 1999, the client base has grown steadily to about 18 million (Safaricom: 15M, Zain: 2.5M, Orange/YU: 600 thousand-September 2009) and it is still on the rise. In a span of about 10 years, communication through mobile phones has leapfrogged other communication technologies to immerge the communication medium of choice for majority of Kenyans. Use of mobile phones has created a variety of applications and value added services that have influenced the traditional e-commerce in Kenya. This case study was based in Nairobi and its environs, The arm of the study was to understand the behavior and attitudes of Kenyans towards use of mobile phones with a view to identifying popular applications and value added services suitable for m-commerce and the impact of m-commerce on traditional e-commerce, Results of study were used to leverage mcommerce framework for the Kenyan environment. The study revealed that cultural beliefs and practices influence use of mobile phones. It further revealed that the social nature of Kenyans and their close family ties influence use of mobile phones. Geographical factors and a person's mood influence the use of mobile phones. Social security influences the use of mobile phone services. Fairuse, privacy and intellectual property rights are important factors in the developer/provider planes that influence use of mobile phone infrastructure. Employees were found to contribute to the social class that controls m-commerce. The age group 26 to 45 years was found to control the m-commerce economy (i.e. about 9 million or 25% of Kenyan population-source: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2008). Entertainment services (Music, games and ring tones) were identified as the core mcommerce value added services driving our m-commerce, closely followed by information services (checking of account balance and bills). Third in line were transactional services of sending money (M-Pesa, Zap). Transactional services are in the upward trend because ofMPesa and Zap and may soon catch up or overtake the entertainment services. Mobile value and wireless value have improved performance, efficiency, productivity and telecommuting over and above traditional e-commerce. Homegrown solutions in terms of frameworks, business models and policies provide suitable platforms for success of m-commerce.