The Communication Authority’s Sector Statistics report for the second quarter of the FY 2018/2019 has been out for some time now. It includes several insights about the ICT industry in Kenya, such as Airtel and Telkom Kenya’s mobile subscriber base nearing half of what the leader, Safaricom commands.
Now, we will shift our eyes to another segment: mobile money. According to the Authority, the quarter recorded 31.6 million active mobile money subscribers who are served by 223,931 agents. Safaricom, as expected, commands the lion’s share of the subscriptions as its mobile money product, M-PESA serves 25,570,165 active customers. At the same time, the carrier has the broadest agency network at 168,620. To put this into perspective, the number of Airtel Money, T-Kash and Mobile Pay agents is hardly half as much.
It has been one year since T-Kash was launched to take the place of Orange Money that was axed after Telkom rebranded From Orange Kenya. In that period, the state’s third largest carrier has managed to amass 114,807 mobile money subscriptions. Airtel Money, on the other, has 3,773,090 active subscriptions that are served by 23,659 agents who are less than T-Kash’s 24,744 agents.
The entire set of agents and subscribers is cannibalized by M-PESA that performs the highest number of transactions. T-Kash performed 207,214 transactions in the quarter under analysis that were valued KES 364.5 million.
While Airtel Money has the second highest number of mobile money subscribers, it only performed 4 million transactions against Equitel’s 166 million transactions. There is one major inference that can be made from this observation: that Airtel’s Mobile Money customers use other financial products as even the value of P2P transfers of m-commerce services. This is not the case with M-PESA that registered more P2P transactions than m-commerce.
The report cements the fact that M-PESA, which has since been supplemented with an overdraft facility named Fuliza, is so much ahead of the competition for rivals to make any dent on it, save for Equitel that has its share of customers who have probably picked the service by virtue of having an Equity account.
T-Kash has a long way to go too, and if online jabs about its lack of a robust agency network are anything to go by, then the telco has a lot to do to appeal to its client base, and even more work to convince them to use T-Kash – which it has inadvertently been doing by encouraging users to transfer funds from M-PESA for rewards, and so forth.