Once Again, M-PESA Cannibalizes T-Kash and Airtel Money with 98.8 Percent Market Share

These numbers beg the question: why are Airtel Kenya and T-Kash even competing?


The latest numbers from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in terms of mobile money use cases are here, and they reiterate what we have come to expect regarding who is the market leader and that the competition cannot compete in the same space.

As we are all aware, mobile money services are used for tens of functions, including bill payments. The bill payment feature is as diverse as they come, and the CA says it collected more disaggregated data that will be examined and reported at a later date.

As of December 31, 2019, there were 28.9 million active mobile money subscriptions.

Safaricom (MPESA) constitutes the lion’s share of the subscriptions with 28.6 million active customers (98.8%). Airtel Kenya’s Airtel Money reported slightly over 300,000 subscriptions and Telkom Kenya’ T-Kash trails at 19,607 subscriptions.

The same trend is observed for agents: there are a total of 205,328 agents distributed across the country. Airtel Money and T-Kash agent reach is poor at best with 26313 and 3056 agents, respectively. M-PESA, expectedly, takes the crown with near 176000 agents.

That’s not the end: M-PESA commanded the largest volume of B2C, B2B2, and P2P transfers.

During the last quarter (Q1 2019/2020), the CA said that Equitel would not be examined as a mobile money product because it is more of a bank-based service. It is why it is missing in the current assessment.

As detailed in the table below, the numbers are in Safaricom’s favour, which begs the question why others are selling products in a space they can’t fairly compete.

Of course, these numbers imply that there are underlying issues that the market need to fix. The CA, for instance, with the help of British firm Analysys Mason, looked into the space with the intention of determining if market leader Safaricom was abusing its space. Mixed conclusions were arrived at, and you can read them here, here and here.

Users have also expressed their frustrations with T-Kash and Airtel Money. Both have numbers in terms of SIM subscriptions – and those who use their associated mobile money wallets are always frustrated by the poor number of agents serving them.

T-Kash recorded 10K active customers more than one year ago. To date, that number has only doubled to 20,000. It implies that the Telkom is unable to appeal to people that have been using M-PESA for a while, and even with constant incentives and promotions, the numbers are poor – but can you blame them?

Mobile Money Q2 2019-2020
Source: CA Kenya