Kenyans will now be able to transfer funds across networks, this comes after three of the country’s mobile money platforms Safaricom’s M-Pesa, Telkom money, and Airtel money went into an agreement which aims to bring down the cost of money transactions. The pilot phase of the platform was launched on Monday, 22 January 2018. The interoperability will be rolled out nationally in March 2018.
Interoperability will also present consumers with choices of services and not being locked into one service or mobile network, given how costly it has been to transfer money between mobile money services.
According to Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru, once fully functional, it will improve efficiency, and likely increase competition.
“Mobile money users will be able to send and receive money across networks once the pilot window is over. The first phase of the pilot between Airtel Money and Safaricom’s Mpesa will start on Monday next week before Telkom Kenya’s mobile money system comes on board mid-February,” said Mucheru.
Safaricom’s M-PESA is the dominant service in Kenya’s mobile money ecosystem as it holds over 70% market share as per the latest report by the Communications Authority of Kenya.
“What this means is that when you send money from one network to another, that money goes straight into your wallet. As you know at the moment, when you send money across networks, you receive an SMS and you have to go cash it, and you can’t easily use it,” said Mucheru.
Mucheru says that the Government has taken a proactive approach by bringing the operators together to agree on issues of national roaming, tower sharing, termination rates among other issues that have been highlighted by a report commissioned by the Communications Authority on market dominance.
The move will put an ease to the tedious process of transferring funds and will be welcomed by consumers in Kenya who have to take about four steps in order to withdraw money transferred from M-Pesa to Airtel Money.