In a surprise move Vodacom Tanzania has launched free M-Pesa services countrywide as a thank you to its 4.5 millon customers.
According to Vodacom Tanzania’s Managing Director Rene Meza the promotion will allow its customers to send money for free. Vodacom launched M-Pesa in April 2008 and at the moment over 4.5 million use the service with over a trillion Tsh moved monthly and has over 40,000 agents countrywide.
However the promotion is not only geared at increasing mobile money use but also voice services as their is a nice trick on the promotion. Meza said the M-Pesa transfer charges will refunded in form of airtime immediately a transaction is made.
“Vodacom customers would not need to subscribe for this service as it would be available to all prepaid M-PESA users across the country”, he said.
Meza seems to have taken this idea from Airtel Kenya, a firm he once managed.
Airtel Kenya in October introduced free mobile money transactions days before a 10 percent tax on mobile money was proposed by the Kenya Revenue Authority. The authority which was looking to seal a tax burden of over Ksh 4 billion further warned Airtel Kenya on the free mobile money transfers to which GSMA came fourth to intervene.
GSMA has been on the forefront of making money money more accessible and affordable to all particularly in the developing world.
However this move by Vodacom is welcome by its clients who feel the telco has lifted their one burden from them.
According to the World Bank, mobile money has also allowed millions of people in Africa otherwise marginalised from formal financial institutions to transact cheaply, securely, and reliably with great success.
The move by Vodacom and Airtel to offer free mobile transfers is worth recognition.
The report further add that in Sub-Saharan Africa 16 percent of adults report having used mobile money transactions in past 12 months to either pay bills or send or receive money, making it free will therefore increase its use and impact.