Telkom Kenya is set to replace its Orange Money service with a new platform in an attempt to step-up competition with the country’s dominant mobile money service, m-Pesa.
Speaking in an interview with Business Daily, Telkom Kenya CEO Aldo Mareuse was critical of the limitations of its current service, and said the company would launch a more cost-efficient product with improved functionality later in the year.
Mareuse said Telkom Kenya’s current money platform lacked some core products available to m-Pesa customers. This, he added, is why the company opted not to take part in a government scheme to sell bonds through the country’s mobile money platforms.
Launch of its new service is likely coincide with a wider company move away from the Orange brand.
Orange Group completed the sale of its 70 per cent stake in Telkom Kenya to Helios Investment Partners in June 2016. According to media reports at the time, the deal included a clause allowing the operator to continue to use the Orange brand for 18 months after completion.
Latest statistics from the Communication Authority of Kenya, dating from October to December 2016, showed Orange Money lagging well behind major rivals by every metric. During the three month period the service recorded 194,322 active subscribers, compared with m-Pesa’s 21.6 million, and 6.7 million for Airtel Money.
The Orange-branded service also recorded fewer subscribers than Equitel Money, Mobikash and Tangaza Pesa. In terms of agents accepting the platform, Orange had 800 compared to 124,084 using m-Pesa.