Equity Bank has acquired a licence to operate a mobile-phone service in conjunction with Airtel, Equitel. Equity Bank is another Kenyan success story, revolutionised local finance in the past decade by slashing fees and helping to bring the poor into the banking sector; the number of accounts rose from around 2.5m in 2005 to more than 20m in 2013 (in a population of 44m). On July 15th their joint venture, Equitel, will launch a service that uses “thin SIMs”, plastic sheets embedded with microchips that slip over the top of a standard SIM card and let the user switch between operators easily. This makes it more likely they will try, and perhaps eventually migrate to, Safaricom’s new rival. Equitel is aiming for 5m users by the end of the year, compared with Safaricom’s 23m. Safaricom is
CapitalFM: Kenyans sent over Sh2.146 trillion shillings using mobile money system in 2014, surpassing the Sh1.8 trillion 2014/2015 national budget. According to statistics provided by the Central Bank of Kenya, there were 825 million mobile transactions up to November 2014, compared to 732 million transactions in 2013. Kenyans made an average of 75 million mobile money transactions in 2014, with October having the highest number of transactions at 82 million. Mobile money transaction in Kenya has grown exponentially. In 2007, the total amount of money that moved across the mobile system, was Sh16 billion. M-Pesa has the largest market share with 17 million active users. Airtel Money and Orange Money have 3.8 million and 2.1 million subscribers respectively. Equity’s Equitel has signed
Kenya’s mobile money industry could undergo a serious shakeup thanks to new technology. A Kenyan bank is rolling out its own mobile network using a new paper-thin SIM card that sits on top of an ordinary SIM. But industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud. Reports Hilary Heuler on HowweMadeitinAfrica For years mobile money, perhaps Kenya’s most successful invention, has been transforming the way Africans do business and send money home. The service was launched by Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom, and in Kenya, Safaricom’s M-Pesa enjoys a near-monopoly when it comes to transferring money via mobile phones. But now the company could be facing its first serious challenge, in the form of a new technology that threatens to upend the mobile money sector.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday said he declined to be drawn into the battle between Safaricom and Equity Bank over use of thin SIM card, instead urged those lobbying him to allow competition to drive the market. Reports Nation Media Addressing business leaders during the 6th East African Business Summit in Kigali, Mr Kenyatta said there is a greater need to allow rivalry in order to deepen mobile money transfer saying this will increase benefits to users. Cheaper and better products “Some people came to me to say that licensing this or that will have consequences but I told them the competition between the firms including that of my friend Bob Collymore (Safaricom chief executive officer) is good for the market. Let them (Equity and Safaricom) fight out. All we want is