Mobile money platform, M-Pesa has made headlines over the last two weeks with claims that the product is for the first time facing intense competition in the Kenyan market.
First, the telecommunications company has to defend its position in the market from Equity’s Mobile Virtual Network Operator which will roll out better mobile money services and other telecommunication products as well and recently an order from Communication Authority ordering Safaricom to open up M-Pesa platform to rivals Airtel Kenya and Orange money and reduce money transaction charges across networks.
The company’s parent company Vodacom is looking at what could possibly be greener pastures for the mobile product.
M-Pesa mobile money platform has re-launched in South Africa after four years of service in the country. The company expects to hit 10 million subscribers in the next five years this is in partnership with Bidvest bank.
The service revamp comes with it a new team headed by Standard Bank m-commerce wizard Herman Singh, better services and distribution as well. First introduced in 2010, Vodacom expected better reception from the market like it has had in East Africa which has not been the case so far. In order to redesign M-Pesa in the state, It has taken a bit of time for the company to study what South Africa’s telecommunications market needs.
The company has introduced new features in the market to improve on services the subscriber will have;
- A chip and pin protected Visa card;
- A voucher system to upload cash and convert cash to M-Pesa, similar to buying airtime, at all Vodacom shops, selected spaza shops and retailers;
- Access to approximately 27 000 ATMs and over 240 000 merchant outlets in South Africa;
- Person-to-person transfers, which will be given additional functionality in the near future; and
- Usage rewards of airtime and other offers, starting with a doubling of airtime when purchasing airtime via M-Pesa, and free airtime for activating the M-Pesa Visa card.
Vodacom also hopes to increase on subscribers and in the same breath retain the current ones. With a subscriber base of 1-million unlike the Kenyan market which is 18 million plus, M-Pesa plans on increasing distribution across the country for better reach.