Equity Bank MVNO moves in on Kenya's mobile money market

Money Transfer

Mobile virtual number operator Finserve Africa Limited (trading as Equitel) has made its mark in the Kenyan mobile money market, overtaking veterans such as Orange Money during October and December of last year.

According to the Communication Authority quarterly report, for Q2, financial year 2014/2015, the MVNO had 394,606 subscriptions compared to that of Orange Money, which stood at 190,129.

Backed by the leading bank in Kenya (by number of accounts) Equity Bank, Finserve aims to reach out to their over 8 million account holders and began issuing SIM cards to customers in October last year.

Equity Bank customers can use the service for a number of banking transactions including money transfer to other accounts or to any mobile money service through their mobile phones. Users can also use the SIM to make and receive calls.

The MVNO recorded 1.6 million minutes on net traffic during the period under review.

Meanwhile, the exit of Yu Mobile last year saw a 5.3% drop in mobile money subscriptions in the country.

"During the quarter under review, the number of mobile money transfer subscriptions stood at 26.0 million down from 27.4 million recorded during the last quarter, representing a decline of 5.3%," the CA report denoted.

"This could be attributed to the exit from the market by Essar Telecom (yu) which held 2.1 million mobile money transfer subscriptions representing 7.8% market share by end of the previous quarter."

Safaricom's MPesa still leads the pack with over 20 million subscriptions. Its nearest competitor is Airtel with 3.2 million subscriptions.
Source: ITWeb Africa 7 April 2015