Two operators in Tanzania launched a service so that subscribers to their rival mobile money services can send and receive cash with one another.
Airtel and Tigo claim it is the world’s first cross-network mobile money transfer service. The commercial launch was last week (22 August).
The operators first announced the idea of linking their services in June along with Zantel, which will “soon” follow its two rivals, Mobile World Live was told by Airtel.
At the time the operators forecast a launch for interoperability at end-June, so have experienced a delay to their original plans. Airtel pointed ut the operators are engaged on a world-first. “In the absence of any precedence and learning, both partners were keen on offering flawless services to the end users on the set timelines,” a spokesman said.
So far the scheme does not include the country’s largest operator, Vodacom. “We expect other operators to join,” commented the spokesman without naming Vodacom.
“This partnership with Tigo is a world first service allowing customers to transact directly to their e-wallet or respective recipient’s e-wallet. With off-net charges removed, it means lower cost and less hassle in withdrawing cash, therefore making the service more relevant to our customers’ needs,” said Sunil Colaso, Airtel Tanzania’s MD.
He added that interoperability also had increased security for money agents and subscribers. He said Airtel agents will be able to help customers with ‘cash in and out’ transactions without needing to retrieve payment confirmation messages from customers’ mobile phones.