Finserve, Equity Bank’s telcos subsidiary, has been designated the task of distributing the recently licensed MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operations) and is now looking to roll out SIM-cards that have the prefix “0763xx”.
Equity Bank hopes that the rollout of the new SIM-card will bring more “choice and freedom” to the mobile transfer services and mobile telephone clientele.
Talking to investors at the bank’s headquarters, James Mwangi, Equity Bank’s CEO said that the SIM-cards, which bear the prefix 0763xxx, were already being used by the internal staff and a countrywide roll out for every Equity Bank customer will happen once they receive an approval from the Communications Authority of Kenya, CAK, most likely before end of July.
It is estimated that 25 million Kenyans will be “empowered” by the novel innovation that will allow for increased synchronicity, as customers will now access services from at least two telecom service providers. The innovation will also save consumers the inconveniences of changing SIM-cards in addition to saving the country billions of shillings that could be used to purchase dual-SIM phones.
According to Equity Bank, the new SIM-cards will improve mobile banking security through data encryption. Easy and convenient access to SMS and USSD will also enable the bank to lower the cost of mobile banking by breaking the commercial barriers, which have so far been put by some mobile telecom operators. The barriers had initially limited the public from accessing mobile banking services due to prohibitive charges by some mobile telcos.
Dual-SIM phones capacity will also easily remove monopolistic power within the telecom sector and make even the playing field, which is fundamental for a competitive environment where product, cost and innovation will drive market behavior.
Mwangi mentioned that the actual innovation of Equity’s MVNO originates from the use of thin SIM card technology that will offer each Kenyan a chance to convert the phone into a dual SIM phone.
“Our leading vision and philosophy is to empower people who are poorly banked or financially excluded, granting them access to ICT and banking solutions that are readily accessible to wealthy members of the society even though they are at an affordable cost,” Mwangi stated.
It is not yet clear what the novel SIM-card will be named.