LIVE FROM MOBILE 360 – AFRICA, KIGALI, RWANDA: Vodacom Group revealed plans to open its mobile money platform to customers of other operators in a number of African markets, as part of a strategy to expand the service.

Chris Williamson, m-Pesa managing executive (pictured, centre), said the company has announced intentions to launch the service outside of its own base, in Mozambique, and was also working on the initiative across several other countries.

“We think it’s time to level the playing field and so it doesn’t matter how big your GSM base is, customers should be able to access our service,” he added. “We very much see m-Pesa becoming like an OTT service.”

The comments came during a session on partnerships, where Williamson added full interoperability with other service providers was “not a question of whether, it’s who, when and how.”

MTN Group head of financial services Serigne Dioum (pictured, far right) also threw his support behind interoperability highlighting its venture with Orange and an aim to provide smooth in-market fund transfer between providers.

Acting Chief Officer for Mobile Finance Services at Tigo Tanzania, Angelica Pesha (pictured, second from right) believes the experience of interoperability in her country provided a blueprint and it was “high time” it was taken elsewhere.

In the enterprise space, Ngozi Megwa, Mastercard SVP digital partnerships for MEA (pictured, second from left), said cooperation between providers was vital to attract merchants, citing African proverb: “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to far go together”.