Mobile money subscribers transact Sh2tr in three months

ICT CS Joe Mucheru (center) with KCB Group CEO, Joshua Oigara (left) and Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore.
Mobile money subscribers transacted Sh1 billion every hour during the first quarter of the current financial year, pushing the value of transactions above Sh2 trillion for the first time.

This comes as regulators mull introducing new checks and balances to police fintechs and mobile network operators in the fast-growing sector.

Data from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) indicates the value of mobile money transactions between July and September 2018 represented a six per cent increase over a similar period recorded in the previous year.

Safaricom’s M-Pesa maintained its market share lead, accounting for 78 per cent of the 730 million transactions recorded over the period with Equity Bank’s fintech subsidiary, Equitel Money, taking 20 per cent of the transactions.

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The report came as Safaricom and Kenya Commercial Bank launched the revamped KCB M-Pesa service. The upgraded platform will allow customers to borrow as well as run targeted savings accounts.

Data from the industry regulator further indicates more Kenyans took to online shopping this year as mobile commerce transactions hit at an all-time high of 526.9 million valued at Sh.1.5 trillion in the quarter under review.

The second largest mobile operator, Airtel Kenya, also doubled its market share in the voice and SMS market in the past year, handing a lifeline to the beleaguered telecommunications firm.

Industry data indicates Airtel Kenya doubled voice traffic from 1.9 million minutes recorded in the three months ending September 2017 to 4.7 million reported over a similar period this year.

The firm similarly enjoyed a bump in SMS usage with traffic going up from 589 million messages sent in the three months to September 2017 to 619 million messages last year.

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This has been attributed to more Kenyans having more than one SIM card as subscribers seek to maximise on bargain offerings from service providers.

“During the period under review, mobile penetration surpassed the 100 per cent mark mainly attributed to the fact that most users own more than one SIM card,” said CA the CA in the report.

Broadband service provider, Mawingu Networks, saw its market share shrink by more than 20 per cent as the operator eliminated inactive accounts from the list of subscribers. This cut overall subscriber numbers from 77,722 to 13,128 as at September 2018.

“Terrestrial wireless data subscriptions declined substantially by 51.3 per cent to stand at 59,380 from 122,037,” indicated the CA report.

“This drop is attributed to the regulatory guidance issued by the authority to Mawingu Networks to review its data on the number of data or Internet subscriptions in line with the official definition of an active subscription, which refers to any subscription that has generated revenue within the last 90 days.”

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Mobile moneyfinancial yearCommunications Authority of KenyaCAEquitel Money