Safaricom finally agrees to open up M-Pesa agent network

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mobile network Safaricom, which runs M-Pesa, has unexpectedly agreed to open up its agency network across the country to its rivals.

This means that Safaricom agents, who currently stand at 85,000 across the East African country, have the green light to sell both M-Pesa services and other mobile money transfer services from rivals such as Airtel.

M-Pesa is Kenya’s most used mobile money system with over 18 million mobile money users. But the total Kenyan mobile money market size has opportunities for Safaricom agents to sell to over 24 million users of the transfer systems.

“We made a strategic decision in February 2014 to remove all exclusivity provisions in our M-Pesa agent contracts,” said Safaricom’s corporate affairs director, Nzioka Waita, in a statement.

“All our 85,000 M-Pesa agents are, therefore, free to engage with whoever they please and this will include other mobile money service providers,” Waita added.

The decision; though, has come before a ruling on a petition filed by Airtel Kenya before the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK).

Airtel has asked the authority to compel Safaricom to open up its agent network.

On this, Waita was quick to add, “This was a commercial decision and not one that was forced upon us by any regulatory authority. We are confident that this decision will not negatively impact our business in any way that we cannot comfortably mitigate.”

Source: ITWeb Africa (link opens in a new window)

Base of the Pyramid, financial inclusion