South African group Allied Technologies (Altech) has acquired Eyenza Mobile Money, a firm that specialises in mobile money transfer services for unbanked users. Eyenza, which is also based in South Africa, provides its money transfer service to pre-paid subscribers of the country’s mobile operators. Altech has ambitions to launch Eyenza’s service to markets in East and West Africa where it has a presence. The price paid by Altech was not disclosed.
Eyenza subscribers in South Africa use the company’s e-Wallet service to transfer money to other users of the service. They can also buy pre-paid airtime (fixed as well as mobile) and data, as well as buy pre-paid electricity using the same service. In the future, Eyenza wants to offer additional services which users can either purchase or process via their e-Wallet. These include insurance, medical aid, the lottery, TV subscription, bill payments, debit card payments and loyalty card points.
Altech CEO Craig Venter said the company had known for some time that it wanted to become involved in the mobile payments market “but it has taken time to identify what we believe is a suitable point of entry”, according to ITWeb. Altech’s existing business is as a vendor at the convergence between telecoms, multimedia and IT. Intel became a shareholder with a US$5 million investment in June 2011.
Venter said Eyenza’s service could be easily reproduced in other African and Asian markets. This approach also has an attraction for the new parent because, in theory at least, no additional development costs are needed.