Safaricom and Telkom subscribers will start transferring funds from M-Pesa to T-kash and vice varsa seamlessly and at no extra cost this week.
This, even as Kenya’s main mobile service operators come together to integrate the mobile money ecosystem through money transfer interoperability that commenced in March this year.
The three mobile networks announced the launch of mobile money interoperability in Kenya yesterday, stating that the last leg between Telkom and Airtel will be launched later upon completion of necessary processes.
“Effective October 4, M-Pesa and T-Kash customers will now seamlessly send and receive funds directly to and from their mobile wallets,” read the joint statement published in local weekend editions.
“Telkom’s inclusion in the interoperability initiative is a significant step towards a more integrated mobile money ecosystem and a boost to financial inclusion agenda in Kenya,”it read.
In April, Safaricom and Airtel networks adopted the new system after completing a two month in-house pilot phase.
The three services have committed to maintain the p2p pricing between on-net and off-net transactions, meaning there will be no price difference when sending money to other network.
The wallet to wallet transfers will now see T-Kash customers receive money sent from M-Pesa directly into their wallet, a step from the current system where a text message alerts the recipient to collect it from an agent registered with the sender’s network.
This system has been disadvantageous for those who receive cash from a network with fewer agents across the country, making it difficult and tedious to make withdrawals. Some people have lost money after their cash vouchers expiring after seven days.
It currently costs Sh45 to transfer Sh101-Sh500 from M-Pesa to Telkom, while it costs only Sh11 to transfer the same amount to Airtel and within the network.
There is however a simmering war between Safaricom and Communication Authority of Kenya. The regulator wants Safaricom to share its infrastructure with rivals to stem the telco’s dominance.
Safaricom has however said that such a measure is tantamount to killing innovation and punishing success. M-Pesa continues to dominate the mobile money space, controlling 81 per cent of the market, first quarter 2018 statistics by CA shows.
Equitel Money had a 6.8 per cent share, Mobikash stood at 6.3 per cent. Airtel Money and Mobile Pay commanded 5.8 and 0.3 per cent.