The battle of “who is who” in Kenya’s telecommunications and mobile banking sector is nowhere near conclusion.
It first began with call rates, where some telcos substantially slashed call rates. Eventually, it moved to SMS’s and internet data, where the real battle is.
However, given the high smartphone penetration in the country, which has been reported to be at 6 percent in the mobile market, mobile applications such as Whatsapp, Viber, Telegram and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming a major threat to the SMS package.
Mobile money transfer on the other hand has become the most successful innovation in the sector with institution like banks feeling the heat and finally integrating it in their customer services. The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) reports that consumers move an average of KSh186.4 billion monthly or KSh6.2 billion per day on mobile.
The popularity of mobile money and its inherent money-spinning dimension has awakened new competition wars, especially from new players coming in on a new concept dubbed Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs).
So far, three MVNOs licences Tangaza’s Mobile Pay Limited Zioncell Kenya Limited and one to Finserve Africa Limited, a subsidiary of Equity bank, have been issued.
Innovation and competition is definitely setting pace in the country’s economic growth and development.