Airtel Kenya has announced that it will be separating its mobile money product, Airtel Money, from the company.
Airtel Money will then be under Airtel Money Kenya Limited.
“Following this business separation, Airtel Money Kenya Limited will take over and continue the provision of the Airtel Money Services, in collaboration with the licensed telecommunications network of Airtel Networks Kenya Limited. The continued use of the Airtel Money Service shall be deemed as proof of the customer’s acceptance of the transfer of their Airtel Money Account and related Customer Data and or sharing of the Customer Data between Airtel Money Kenya Limited and Airtel Networks Kenya Limited,| says the telco in a statement.
Airtel Money comes in second to Safaricom’s M-PESA, which has since been assumed as dominant with more than 99 percent market share.
It has also been rumoured that M-PESA will at one time be a separate entity from Safaricom, but that has not happened yet.
In June, Airtel Kenya sold 25.77 percent of its mobile money product Airtel Money in a deal that sought to raise more cash for the company’s operations.
The sale saw four companies give Airtel Kenya $550 million after the transaction. They were Rise Fund, which invested $200 million, followed by Mastercard at $100 million. Qatar Holding LLC invested $200 million, while Chimera Investment LLC parted with $50 million to round up the stake’s purchase.
While profitable in other markers, Airtel Money also does not command the profits that M-PESA affords Safaricom. It has since been projected that the rival product will be making more than half the revenues for the nation’s leading telco.
The dominance issue has been discussed by stakeholders, regulators, and people for an extended period. The CBK, for instance, has since come in to regulate the space, while pushing for measures that attenuate the dominance of M-PESA.
Mobile money interoperability, for example, was introduced more than four years ago.
Till and paybill interoperability was also introduced this year.
By 2024, agency interoperability should be live. This, perhaps, will be the biggest step toward making the mobile money ecosystem more friendly to customers who do not use or do not want to use M-PESA.