Samsung is in talks with local banks and regulators about bringing its payment service to South Africa in the first quarter of 2017.

The timeline was forecast by Craige Fleischer, Samsung’s director for integrated mobility in South Africa, at the national launch of the Galaxy Note7 phablet. His comments were reported by Techcentral.

To date, Samsung Pay has had nine national launches, but this would be the first in Africa. It might also beat rivals Android Pay and Apple Pay in reaching the continent. However, Africa is hardly a stranger to mobile payments, given it is the home of M-Pesa and other popular money services.

“We are quite far down the line talking to local banks. Unfortunately, these things take time,” said Fleischer. “There is an enormous amount of integration that has to happen in terms of switching and tokenisation, both MST and NFC tokenisation.”

Fleischer’s comments reflect a common truth from other countries where mobile payments have launched – that negotiations with banks and other financial institutions are time consuming.

“We are working with all the banks, not just the traditional big five,” he said.

He said that the company’s past experience from other countries was it needs coverage of at least 65 per cent to 70 per cent, not only in terms of point-of-sale infrastructure, but also bank customers that are able to access the payment service.