Vodafone earned US$15.6 million in license fees from M-Pesa in the year to end-March 2011, according to the annual report of Safaricom, the Kenya mobile operator which offers the mobile payment service. M-Pesa is actually owned by Vodafone and offered under license by Safaricom which pays a fee on a quarterly basis in return.
The M-Pesa license fee payment made up the vast majority of the US$21 million Vodafone earned in total fees from Safaricom, according to a report in The East African. The fees payment represents 12 percent of the US$130 million of revenues that Safaricom itself earned from M-Pesa in 2011. Vodafone holds a 40 percent stake in Safaricom.
Kenya’s M-Pesa has already established itself as one of the world’s most successful mobile money schemes; the operator now has 14 million M-Pesa customers, representing almost 80 percent of its total subscriber base, and 27,000 agents nationwide.
M-Pesa was launched by Vodafone's Tanzania subsidiary, Vodacom, in July last year, and it is reportedly being considered for rollout by other Vodafone-affiliated operators in India (Vodafone Essar), Egypt (Vodafone Egypt) and South Africa (Vodacom South Africa).