Kenya's Airtel sticks to its case against Safaricom

Kenya’s Airtel sticks to its case against Safaricom

22 JUL 2014

Kenyan operator Airtel has pledged to continue its case against larger rival Safaricom over what it charges for access to its M-Pesa mobile money transfer service, said Business Daily.

Airtel is maintaining its position despite Safaricom’s recent decision to open up its extensive network of M-Pesa agents to rivals, a move that could ease the market position of rivals.

Despite the concession, the smaller competitor will press ahead with the case before the country’s anti-trust regulator, the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK).

It believes Safaricom treats users from rival mobile money services as “unregistered” on its M-Pesa service, which means it can charge them up to double the cost of its own users.

“The case will continue because at the moment there is a very huge price difference on what Safaricom charges its subscribers for sending money to rivals, this and the large network effect makes it impossible for consumers to send money outside the network,” said Adil El Youssefi, Airtel Kenya managing director.

Last week, Safaricom opened its network of M-Pesa agents, meaning subscribers  to rival money services such as those offered by Airtel, Orange and yuMobile will be able to pay in and collect cash from M-Pesa agents

Even though Safaricom now allows its agents to also work for rivals, many of them are reluctant to make the move, said Airtel.

As well as sharing agents, Airtel is pushing for interoperability between mobile money services. It wants a maximum tariff set on what Safaricom can charge for sending a rival’s money across its network.


Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

Read more