Have you waited for this day like I have? When Safaricom will allow M-Pesa transfers to family and friends between two countries at no extra cost? Well, through a new partnership with Tanzania’s Vodacom, customers of the M-Pesa platform in Kenya can now send and receive money to people in the neighbouring country. A first of its kind for Safaricom, the new deal is allowed for on the M-Pesa platform.
So businesses and individuals will now be able to make transactions between the two countries with ease, especially with the fact that charges levied for every transaction be it withdrawal or sending will remain the same as what is charged locally in both Kenya and Tanzania. There will be no additional charges for the inter-country transactions as local tariffs for transfers will apply.
With nearly 20 million M-Pesa customers in Kenya and the 7 million M-Pesa customers present in Tanzania, the two mobile network operators believe that the new development will become a continuing growth in the story of the successful mobile wallet and will also provide a more secure and affordable way of sending money, curbing theft and overcharging along the way.
While some people preferred to send money to friends and family or business partners through their traditional bank accounts or through other side mobile money platforms that sometimes you are not sure if they are legitimate, there are those who would send money through bus drivers or conductor – of course only from Tanzania, Kenyans are hardly the trusting kind.
“From today one doesn’t need to send money by suka wa basi (bus driver) or konda (conductor or incur hefty charges to transfer school fees, buy goods or settle business payments, he or she can do so directly from their M-Pesa wallet and from the comfort of their home, anytime the need arises,” said Rene Meza, MD at Vodacom Tanzania.
The new move comes just ahead of this year’s Connected East Africa Summit that aims to promote integration of services among the five East African countries in the hope of growing the economy and enhancing trade, with the One Area Network being the first of its initiatives to allow better connection.
Safaricom, the largest mobile network operator in Kenya continues to launch new products in efforts to maintain top position and grow popularity, and now the telecom also wants to venture into the country’s digital TV platform by introducing its own set-top-boxes.
According to a report by the Business Daily, Safaricom applied for a digital broadcasting license as well as approval for distribution of the digital decoders. The telecom wants to take advantage of the digital migration to fulfill its commitment towards providing wireless internet by connecting households to the internet through TV.