India is arguably Vodafone’s largest potential market for mobile money but the operator is shy of 400,000 active users.
According to the group’s 2014/15 results, the operator has a nationwide network of 89,000 agents offering its M-Pesa service in India and had 3.1 million registered mobile money customers at end-March 2015.
However, the actual number of active users lags significantly the number of registered customers. The active user base is just 378,000, which also puts India well behind more mature mobile money markets such as Kenya and Tanzania.
The operator is eager to drive further take-up in India, with a strategy of focusing on specific migratory corridors where rural users moving to the cities can send money home to friends and family. This has been the classic route to building a user base for mobile money in other countries, such as Kenya.
The group now has 19.9 million M-Pesa subscribers across all its markets.
Vodafone owns the M-Pesa concept but licenses it to other operators, including Vodacom and Safaricom in which it holds stakes of 65 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively.
In addition to the 378,000 in India, Vodacom contributes 5.6 million active users across its footprint (particularly Tanzania) and Safaricom delivers 13.9 million active users just from Kenya.
Vodafone hopes India can one day emulate those African markets in terms of contribution. Mobile money makes up 23 per cent of total revenue in Tanzania and 21 per cent in Kenya.