IHS Mobile Media Intelligence has updated its Mobile Money Deployments Tracker, which provides key information including main features and active users of mobile money services. A number of new entrants and service offerings have launched in the last few months. Operators continue to roll out domestic mobile money services; a new trend has emerged with more offerings for cross-border money transfers. Airtel, Orange and MTN have been most active in launching international remittance services. The latest developments in the mobile money market include:
- Kenya: since mobile operator yuMobile was acquired by Airtel and Safaricom the number of mobile money transfer subscriptions has dropped in Kenya. Essar Telekom Limited (yuMobile), which held 2.1 million mobile money subscriptions, was acquired by Bharti Airtel and Safaricom for $120 million. According to Kenya’s telecom regulator, the number of mobile money transfer subscriptions in the 4th quarter of 2014 dropped by 5.3%, from 27.5 million subscriptions in the 3rd quarter to 26 million.
- Orange and Airtel launched international money transfer between Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso in March 2015. The partnership builds on Orange’s international transfer service launched in 2013 enabling money transfer between Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal. Earlier in 2014, Airtel partnered with MTN for international remittance between Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, which was the first time customers could send and receive money from users across border from a different operator.
- In addition to partnering with other carriers, Bharti Airtel’s Airtel Money also launched cross-border mobile money service between the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Rwanda in March 2015.
- Vodafone launched M-Pesa payments between Tanzania and Kenya in March 2015. This is M-Pesa’s first international money transfer service.
- Millicom launched Rwanda’s first mobile-based saving product, Tigo Sugira, with Tigo Cash in March 2015. The service was launched in partnership with Urwege Opportunity Bank.
- Orange plans to launch Orange Money in Romania by the end of 2015. This will put it in competition with Vodafone’s M-Pesa service in the country.
- Vodafone plans to launch M-Pesa in Albania. It will be Vodafone’s second mobile money service in Europe after Romania in April 2014.
In addition to tracking mobile money deployments which mainly focuses on operators in emerging markets, we also follow developments of mobile payments services in developed countries, including Apple Pay and Google Wallet. According to our latest report Mobile operators must refine their mobile payment services in Western Europe, mobile operators in Western Europe have launched 36 mobile wallet services across 15 countries as of January 2015. The report exams the current market condition in Western Europe, presents the challenges and opportunities operators are faced with, and explores business models by carrying out case studies. Operators must move fast now before Apple and Google extend their dominance in the mobile payments space in Europe.