Kenya’s largest cellular operator is to launch a new mobile payments service under the name M-PESA. Safaricom and its 35% owner Vodafone Group are teaming up to introduce the new offering which allows customers without bank accounts to deposit and withdraw cash, transfer money to another person’s account via SMS, and top up their pre-paid airtime. Cash is paid in and withdrawn at specified M-PESA agents, which are typically Safaricom dealerships, but which also include other retail outlets such as supermarkets, shops and petrol stations. Vodafone and Safaricom first launched trials of the M-PESA service in 2005.
Michael Joseph, CEO of Safaricom, said: ‘Safaricom and Vodafone’s M-PESA mobile money transfer service is an example of Kenya leading the way in the advancement of mobile technology and its uses. Following the very positive response by consumers to the pilot, we believe that there is a great deal to be gained for Kenyan consumers as well as for mobile and financial sector companies.’