According to a local daily, Safaricom is seeking to pre-qualify suppliers of a location tracking and intelligence platform, and has invited bids for the service that would help the operator to build profiles of customers based on their locations and telephone usage. This could be signalling the telecoms firm’s plan to monetise data in its massive customer base.
Location intelligence provides marketers with unique insights into customer behaviour and many telcos around the world sell such data to third parties or use it to tailor-make their marketing activities.
“Safaricom has enjoyed rapid growth since her inception largely driven by the innovation and delivery of new and sophisticated services riding on telephony and data services,” the telco said in the bid notice.
“Consequently, the evolution of the mobile network and devices has enabled Safaricom to gather information from the connected devices. At the core of any reliably connected device is an accurate location intelligence system.”
Location intelligence data from telecoms operators has been used by various firms including insurance, financial services as well as supermarkets allowing them to map consumer behaviour patterns.
It is not known yet how this plays out with the local Data Protection Act, 2019 which was last November signed by teh President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law and seeks to shape how institutions collect, use and store personal information.
Banks, technology companies like Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya, media groups, retailers, hospitals and hotels are among those targeted due to the vast amounts of customer information they hold.
According to the law, sharing or offering for sale personal data could land those responsible for storage five-year jail or fines of up to Sh5 million.
Data from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) shows Safaricom grew its mobile subscriptions 4.4 percent to 34.5 million in the three months ended September meaning the company holds a rich treasure trove of data from its customers.