Airtel and Orange subscribers and will now be able to access mobile money transfer services from M-Pesa outlets after Safaricom opened up its M-Pesa mobile money agents network to rival operators, allowing integration between various mobile money platforms.
The exclusive clause only limited the M-Pesa agents to run Safaricom’s mobile cash transfer services but with the new provision, agents can now engage with Safaricom’s rivals.
Airtel stands to benefit more from this move since one of the biggest challenge its subscribers face is access to Airtel money outlets which are very few compared to Safaricom’s 85,000 M-Pesa agents. Its good news for the agents as well who will now reap in more commissions.
“We made a strategic decision in February 2014 to remove all exclusivity provisions in our M-Pesa agent contracts and our agents are free to engage with whomever they please,” said Safaricom’s Corporate Affairs Director Nzioka Waita in a statement.
Airtel had filed a petition with the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) in 2012, asking the body to compel Safaricom to open its agent network to allow for a free competition.
M-Pesa (M for mobile, pesa is Swahili for money) is a mobile-phone based money transfer and micro financing service, launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom, the largest mobile network operators in Kenya.