By CONRAD ONYANGO
Mobile Money Transfer system has continued gaining popularity in the country recording a new growth of 18.4 million subscribers in the latest statistics.
This represents a 5.9 percent increase in subscription of the service from last years results and 69.5 percent of the total mobile subscriptions according to newly released CCK sector statistics report.
The increased subscription of the service has been attributed to efforts by industry players to ensure accessibility, affordability and inclusion of the unbanked .
“The continued growth is an indication of subscribers’ preference to mobile money transfer, which could be attributed to accessibility and affordability even to low-income earners who form the bulk of the unbanked population,” according to the report.
The growth comes after the government proposed to telecoms to develop a common system for facilitating mobile money transfers across all networks mid last year. The same call came from Bharti Airtel earlier in the year. The move was facilitated by the need to provide seamless mobile money transfer system regulated by Central Bank of Kenya as a way of increasing the uptake of the service.
The report also revealed that the total amount of deposits via the service grew by 17.5 per cent from Sh 48 billion in the previous review period to Sh 56 billion representing an increase of 58.6 per cent from last quarter.
Currently Central Bank of Kenya has licensed the four mobile service providers, Safaricom, Airtel, Orange and Essar’s Telkom Yu to the service. The latest to be licensed is MobilePay, an information technology company behind the Tangaza brand.
CCK projects continued growth in the sector across 2012, viewing a possibility of new innovations by mobile phone service providers to meet new customer demands.
“This trend is likely to continue as new innovations emerge and operators keep an eye on new services, and seize the opportunity of being the first to offer them,” according to the report.
The service is however threatened by increased cyber crimes in the country. During the same period, International security experts from the US, issued a warning to Kenya, for enhanced security mechanisms to save the technology from the criminals whom they suspected are exploring ways to reap cash unscrupulously from the system.
Unless the government, through the ministry of Information communication and technology implements its Sh 445 million plan for infrastructure to address the situation,The criminals will be the last to laugh.