Safaricom Hints M-PESA Split from Carrier Services

A holding company will be formed to run M-PESA, voice, and the Ethiopian arm as separate entities.


Back in 2020, there were talks that Safaricom would split its business. The plan was to separate its mobile money product M-PESA from its other carrier services.

The split was being pushed by Kenyan senators. According to them, Safaricom was ahead of the competition, and the playing field was not level for other telcos. Specifically, Safaricom leads the market in terms of data, voice, and messaging – controlling more than 65 percent of the departments. Its mobile money product owns the lion’s share of the market.

Still, in 2020, the Senate had proposed the following split:  1. mobile telephony services under the CA, and 2. M-PESA under the administration of the CBK.

However, this development did not come to fruition. About one year ago, MPs refused to explore the Safaricom split. All Members of Parliament save for just two, distanced themselves from a new Bill that sought to introduce such a split to all telcos.

The bill is named The Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Bill and was being sponsored by Elisha Odhiambo, MP for Gem.

Latest developments

However, it would appear that Safaricom might in the long run split its services and products.

First and foremost, the telco is already sharing its paybill and buy goods infrastructure with Telkom and Airtel Kenya. By 2024, agency interoperability will also go live.

According to the Daily Nation, Safaricom’s CEO has revealed that the said split is incoming.

It will be in the form of a holding company, which will then manage the telco’s mobile money services, towers, data services, and the Ethiopian arm.

In the future, we expect there will be a holding company, probably the listed business and there will be quite a few businesses that operate under Safaricom and we are also able to monetize some of the assets we have for example the towers that we could lease in the future so probably have tower company – CEO Peter Ndegwa

Airtel Kenya has already split its Airtel Money business from the company.

Telkom Kenya also has similar plans under its sleeve, and they were supposed to be executed this month. Still, whenever the third-largest operator is ready, it will separate its carrier services (voice, data, and SMS) from T-Kash.

All these developments seek to make the telco rivalry fairer and offer customers more options rather than relying on pricier services that are not offered by other carriers.