Mobile money users in the country will from next week Tuesday be able to send and receive money from across the different networks without extra charge.
This follows the completion of the two-month interoperability pilot carried out between Safaricom and Airtel which started in January.
In a statement, Safaricom, Airtel, and Telkom say the launch of mobile money interoperability will allow customers more flexibility and convenience when carrying out their transactions. This means that the funds will move directly from the sender’s wallet to the receiver’s wallet. Telkom Kenya which launched its mobile money T Cash recently will join the interoperability process at a later date.
So how will the interoperability work? Well, a customer will receive an SMS from another network notifying them of money that had been sent. They would have to withdraw that money from the sender’s network and then deposit the same into their own wallet. If the recipient did not withdraw the funds within seven days, the money would be sent back to the sender.
Today, no market has interconnected mobile money platforms. ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said during the pilot launch that the long-term objective is to ensure enhanced service provision for this platform-mediated network business.
For more than a decade, consumers have been heavily inconvenienced by the mobile money transfer across various networks. Cash transfer across networks has been complex and costlier.
Latest data from the Communications Authority indicates that Safaricom controls 80.8% of mobile money subscribers, Equitel Money has 6.8%, Mobikash has 6.3%, Airtel Kenya has 5.8%, while Mobile Pay controls 0.3.