Bharti Airtel plans to launch a cross border money transfer product in East Africa from next month as mobile money wars in Kenya hots up.
The pilot phase targeting – Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda will begin the first week of November following approvals by Central Banks of the Governments of Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda .
The next phase of this initiative will roll out the service to other Airtel operating countries within the next year.
Speaking during the 2014 East African CEO Business Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, Chidi Okpala, Director and Airtel Money Head noted customers will now be able to transact with ease, across national borders.
“The service will extend convenience by way of cost efficiency and reach while facilitating remittances and small trades within East Africa,” said Okpala.
It comes at a time when the Kenyan government has given a nod to the role out of the controversial thin sim technology and opened the battle field to encourage competition.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Information, communication and technology Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i have however said operators should take responsibility of its vulnerabilities.
“If consumers use the technology and actually prove that their information is compromised, then the responsibility lies with the operator of the thin SIM,” warned Matiang’i.
“Some people came to me to say that licensing this or that will have consequences. We have all this mobile money (they said) and others are coming up with new SIMs (that put it at risk)’. But I told them: ‘Let them (Equity and Safaricom) fight it out. All we want is cheaper and better products for people,” said the president.