Millicom International Cellular: Millicom, Airtel and Zantel Announce Africa’s First Mobile Money Interoperability Agreement

Money Transfer

The subsidiary of Millicom (sto:MIC) in Tanzania, Tigo, joined with Airtel and Zantel today to announce Africa’s first agreement to allow their customers in the country to send money to each other whether using Tigo Pesa, Airtel Money or EzyPesa on their mobile handsets. The service is expected to begin this month.

This is the first agreement in Africa to adopt interoperable mobile money services, whereby one network allows another network’s customers to send money to its own clients. In the early years of the mobile industry, such agreements were common for both voice calls and SMS text messaging.

With this groundbreaking agreement, the potential number of customers able to send money by mobile to each other in Tanzania, regardless of network, will increase to over sixteen million.

Airtel, Zantel and Tigo welcomed today the recent statement by Vodafone supporting the principle of such interoperability and looks forward to concluding a similar agreement with Vodacom in Tanzania.

Hans-Holger Albrecht, Millicom’s President and CEO commented, “We are delighted to work with our counterparts to extend the mobile money universe in Tanzania. With this agreement we can help make Tanzania a global pioneer in digital financial inclusion. Interoperability will be a catalyst for growth in the mobile money sector and is long overdue. It’s an example to operators in other countries.”

Tigo has over 6.2 million customers in Tanzania overall and 3.4m users of its Tigo Pesa mobile money service.

In February 2014, Millicom launched the world’s first cross-border mobile money service with currency conversion between Tanzania and Rwanda.